The week of Monday 10 December sees the age-group representative tournament season for 2018/19 get underway, with both Wairarapa U/15 sides holding high hopes for some positive showings at their respective Central Districts competitions. The LoneStar U/15 Boys side kick-start their tournament with two T20s on the first day against South Island opposition in Nelson and Marlborough, whilst the Apache Jacks U/15 Girls team begin their tournament a day later, also with two T20 fixtures against both Horowhenua-Kapiti and Hawkes Bay.
The Boys tournament has undergone a face-lift for this season, and weather permitting, Wairarapa will have faced all other seven CD associations in points games by it’s completion, with a mixture of T20 and 50 over fixtures. The side, coached by Mark Brown and Bryan Taylor, has a core of experience from last season, with a strong batting line-up led by the returning Jake Jonas, Jesse McIntyre and Mark Steventon, with able support from Andrew Taylor and Will Summerfield. Jonas, McIntyre and Steventon will all be called upon to bowl their mixture of leg and off-spin, whilst the seam bowling ranks will see the impressive Charlie Sims and Charlie Oliver (second year U15s) lead with back-up from Tommy Tomlinson, Jordan Robinson and Flynn Register. George Parke and Dylan Pugh have been tasked with sharing the keeping duties with Parke in particular having the potential to up the scoring rate whilst batting.
The side suffered a pre-tournament points game loss against Hawkes Bay, but should still retain confidence that they can be competitive against any other CD opposition with the potential within the side.
The Girls competition sees Wairarapa return as defending champions. Again the side has a core of returning players, with a strong top-order capable of scoring big and quickly if given the opportunity. Macy Lyford and Olivia Clark, both returning Central Districts U15 representatives from last season, will be expected to lead in this regard, and will be more than ably support by Emma McLeod, Jess Roseingrave and Charlize Carson-Butler. Grace Tanner, who will spend most of the tournament behind the stumps, has the capability to chime in with crucial runs, whilst down in the middle to lower order Maisy Ballantyne, Belle Clark, Sian Wheeler and Isabella Kennedy are all more than capable of hitting the ball hard and scoring well. The bowling will revolve around a mixture of medium pace and spin, with Eva Wootton and Roseingrave looking to swing the ball early and tie the batsmen down. Clark will add her extra pace, whilst Lyford, McLeod, Carson-Butler and Clark will add spin and control through the middle of the innings. One to look out for could be the teams youngest member, Year 7 Opaki student Vanessa Taylor, who can contribute effectively in all aspects.
This team, coached by Simon Roseingrave and Tony Lyford, has had a hampered build-up due to the weather, but have managed a solid performance in a loss to Wellington U/15 Girls. Close to half the side have been involved with Wairarapa College 1st XI Girls efforts at the national finals in Christchurch, with the remainder completing their buildup in an invitation fixture against Horowhenua-Kapiti, which resulted in an emphatic victory. Lack of game time should not be too much of an excuse and hopes are high for a successful week.