Jaco Vorster, centre, will captain Wairarapa. PHOTO/FILE

CRICKET

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

The top order constructing a good platform will be the focus for Highmark Homes Wairarapa in their Furlong Cup match against Taranaki in New Plymouth this weekend.

Wairarapa started the Hawke Cup elimination series a fortnight ago scoring 61 and 83 in an embarrassing innings and 113-run loss to Horowhenua-Kapiti.

Coach Neil Perry, however, remains positive that they have the batsmen to put up a good score.

“We’ve got people capable of scoring runs. There was only one game last year where we didn’t score 270-280 or more,” he said.

“We’ve got a lot of batting in the middle order, so the key to setting a big score is to get a good solid start.”

The responsibility at the top of the order will fall to Rathkeale students, John McKenzie and Jake Jonas.

McKenzie is in his third season in the Wairarapa side and has shown he has the temperament and patience to blunt the opening bowling attack.

Jonas, 16, made his debut against Horowhenua-Kapiti scoring 10 and eight, batting at number nine but Perry is not worried about pushing him up to open.

“Jake opens for Rathkeale. I’ve been told he looked the best of the batsmen against Horowhenua-Kapiti. Opening is his natural position and he’s got a solid technique.”

Ethan Quinn will step into the vital number three role. Primarily in the side as an opening bowler, the tall right hander has opened at rep level in the past with some success.

Brock Price, Jaco Vorster, wicketkeeper Jack Forrester, allrounder Gus Borren and the recalled Gordon Reisima give the middle order a solid look.

Bowlers Stefan Hook, Quinn Childs, and Hugo Wakeling are also capable with the bat.

Hook, Ethan Childs, Peter Sigvertsen, Reisima, and Borren form the pace attack, with Quinn Childs and Wakeling the slow bowling options.

Perry felt it was important the bowlers stayed in the hunt after falling away late in Horowhenua-Kapiti’s innings of 257.

“We had them 159-6 after 73 overs, we had created a lot of opportunities, but then our lack of time in the field told. We have to focus at staying in the fight for every delivery.”

Vorster takes over the captaincy from Price, who stood in at short notice for the Horowhenua-Kapiti game after the late withdrawal of Liam Burling, who cannot play representative district cricket if he is playing Wellington premier club cricket.

“It was tough losing Liam so close to the season. Brock stood up and took the helm, but it’s important he and Stefan, as senior players, focus on their prime roles,” Perry said.

“Jaco is a tough competitor and is quiet and calm and has the respect of the whole playing group. He’s a natural leader.”

Perry also welcomed the return of former captain Reisima.

“Gordy adds a lot of experience and that’s what we’ve been missing. He’s a useful medium pace bowler and is a good lower order batsman. He’ll bring a lot to the team.”

Wairarapa won’t find it easy against a Taranaki side who beat Hawke’s Bay on first innings in the first round.

Last year’s game against Taranaki in Masterton was abandoned without a ball being bowled. Two years ago, Taranaki cruised to an innings victory in New Plymouth.

Weather may again be the winner, with showers forecast for today and rain tomorrow.

Wairarapa squad

John McKenzie, Jake Jonas, Ethan Childs, Brock Price, Jaco Vorster [captain], Jack Forrester, Gus Borren, Stefan Hook, Gordon Reisima, Quinn Childs, Hugo Wakeling, Peter Sigvertsen. `