Ethan Childs bowled well for CD ‘A’ last week. PHOTO/FILE

CRICKET

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

The return of Robbie Anderson will add much needed experienced to Highmark Homes Wairarapa’s top order for this weekend’s Furlong Cup clash with Whanganui at Queen Elizabeth Park Oval.

Anderson, who also plays representative rugby for Wairarapa-Bush, has been sidelined from sport since suffering an ankle injury in the second round of the Heartland Championship.

The left-hander has only played some T20 cricket but had looked good batting in the nets, coach Neil Perry said.

“Robbie’s been training hard, he’s feeling good and although he’ll probably not be 100 per cent, he adds a lot to the group. He’s as keen as and is disappointed with not being able to play earlier.”

Anderson would add a lot of grit and experience in the troublesome number three spot, Perry said.

Since losing prolific run scorer Liam Burling at the start of the season because of Wellington premier club cricket regulations, Wairarapa have been searching for a suitable replacement.

Anthony Sprowson and wicketkeeper Jack Forrester were tried at first drop in the first-round innings defeat to Horowhenua-Kapiti, and pace bowler Ethan Childs filled the role in the abandoned match with Taranaki.

Another key player, seam bowler Stefan Hook, looks set to take a full part after recovering from a side strain.

Hook bowled late in Burger King Red Star’s win over Jackson Street Bar Lansdowne in the Coastal Challenge last Saturday, picking up three wickets in 10 balls, and has been bowling
well at training.

Hook’s return to fitness means no place in the team for Rathkeale medium pacer Jacob Osborne, who remains on standby.

Perry was expecting a tough encounter against one of Wairarapa’s traditional rivals.

“Whanganui are a very proud district, like us, and they will fight tooth and nail.

“We will aim to put them under pressure and make them play their shots.

“Stefan, Quinn [Childs] and Ethan [Childs] have been bowling well. Quinn and Ethan were very good for CD A last week, so we have the bowling to put their batting under pressure.”

Perry felt the batting was coming together with John McKenzie, Brock Price, Gordon Reisima, and Jaco Vorster each getting runs in previous matches.

Despite Wairarapa having had a heavy loss and a washed-out game in their two Furlong Cup matches, and losing all four matches at the Chapple Cup, Perry said the team was starting to play some good cricket.

“We back our guys. We’ve had the best preparation we can and we’re confident we can get the job done.”

There will also be much conjecture about the state of the Oval pitch, which was slow with inconsistent bounce in last weekend’s Coastal Challenge game.

A fresh strip will be used for this weekend’s game.

Wairarapa team to play Whanganui:

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

Furlong Cup standings:

15 – Hawke’s Bay, Taranaki and Horowhenua-Kapiti; 10 – Whanganui; 9 – Manawatu; 8 – Wairarapa.