Captain Robbie Speers, right, will be key to Lansdowne’s batting effort. PHOTOS/FILE
Battle royale to be likely outcome
Both captains in the Bidwill Cup final believe the championship will be decided with an outright victory.
Jackson Street Bar Lansdowne are top qualifiers for the two-day decider and only need a draw to win the championship, whereas Burger King Red Star need an outright victory to lift the trophy for the second consecutive year.
Lansdowne skipper Robbie Speers thinks there will be an outright victor, and the team that adapts best to the two-day, two-innings format will walk away with Wairarapa Cricket’s premier trophy.
“Most of the boys are used to playing short formats of cricket, and it’s hard for them without playing reps to play the long format, which is tough on them, but we’re pretty confident,” he said.
Red Star captain Stefan Hook agreed and said the only disadvantage of not being top qualifier is if bad weather impacts on play.
“They obviously gave us a hiding a couple of weeks ago, so they’ve got a bit of momentum there, but I’m expecting it to be quite a close game, and a good or bad hour by either team will be the decider,” he said.
The Queen Elizabeth Park Oval pitch has favoured the bowlers in the latter part of the season, which would suit Hook’s fast-medium bowling, but he just wants a good surface after their final
round-robin match last Saturday against Wairarapa Mitsubishi Greytown was moved to Greytown at late notice.
“It was pretty wet last week but I’m hoping it will dry out and play all right,” he said.
“There might be a bit of life in it to start with, and when you need an outright that’s not a bad thing, and then it might dry out and turn, so it might be challenging for the batsmen on both days.
“We back our batsmen to go well on it, but you need to really play within yourself, and you can’t really hit the balls on the up, and you’ve just got to wait for that half-volley or half-tracker and be prepared to bat long.”
Speers is also confident he has the bowling attack to take advantage of any assistance the pitch may offer.
“We’ve got some good medium pacers, and big Reece [Hannam] has been bowling pretty good in the nets on Wednesday night, and we’ve got a new leggy [Lahiru Herath], who is pretty handy.”
Hannam was Lansdowne’s chief destroyer in the round-robin clash taking four wickets, including three of the top order, as Red Star were bundled out for 94, while Herath took 3-25 in their narrow loss to Greytown.
Speers said the win over Red Star had given the team a lot of confidence.
“The boys have had a pretty good season all around and we know they’re a good side, and they’ve got a lot of rep players, and we don’t have many, but we’re pretty confident. We just want to play some good cricket really.”
Lansdowne have been struggling with injuries and unavailabilities impacting on team selection, but Speers said they will still field a useful side, which includes at least five players with past representative experience – Speers, Alex Goodin, Choi Jackson, Aaron Bidlake, and Hannam.
Wairarapa representatives Jake Jonas and Paddy Gluck are missing for Red Star, but their line-up will still feature five players who represented Wairarapa this season, including the seam bowling attack of Hook, Peter Sigvertsen, and Jared Watt, as well as batsmen Robbie Anderson and Nathan Elliott.
Speers is confident he has the team to win Lansdowne’s second title in three years after their victory in 2019.
“Hopefully, we can bat a bit of time and pick up a few wickets and see how we go from there.”
Hook is also prepared for a battle royale between Wairarapa’s two most successful clubs and fierce rivals.
“They definitely surprised us a couple of weeks ago, and Robbie has got them pretty well motivated, so yea, I’m expecting it to be a good game.
“We know we can’t take them lightly, so we have to come out all guns blazing.”
Play will get under way at the Oval at high noon today, and 11am tomorrow.
Teams for the Bidwill Cup final
Jackson Street Bar Lansdowne: Robbie Speers [capt, wk], Alex Goodin, Sean Rudman, Aaron Bidlake, Sanjay Patel, Reece Hannam, Choi Jackson, Gurdev Singh, Lahiru Herath, Mandeep Singh, Regan Fricker.
Burger King Red Star: Stefan Hook [capt], Robbie Anderson, Richard French, Jeremy Anderson, Nathan Elliott [wk], Sean Wakelin, Dion Knight, Nathan Chaney, Peter Sigvertsen, Jared Watt, Ojas Patel.