The recently completed Central Districts U/15 Girls was a tournament of highlights for the Wairarapa side. Taking a relatively inexperienced side (8 new players from the previous year) was always going to make things tough for the team, but a final finishing position of fourth from six, with three players named in the extended Central Districts U/15 squad made it a venture the district can be proud of.
Kate Sims and Gemma Sims were both named in the Central Districts U/15 side to compete at the National Tournament in Wanganui from 5 to 8 January 2016, whilst Olivia Roseingrave was named as non-travelling reserve.
Their selection was richly deserved, as Wairarapa were able to compete and base their game around the potent new ball pairing of Kate and Roseingrave, backed up by the keeping of Gemma. The two opening bowlers frequently combined to knock the top off the opposition, whilst keeping the run rate down, the highlight being restricting Wellington to only 7 for the loss of 3 after the first six overs of that fixture. In terms of a combination of wickets taken and runs conceded in the first six overs, these two were second to none. Roseingrave in particular was parsimonious, conceding only 2.55 runs per over and bowling only 5 wides in the entire tournament, whilst finishing 6th on the wicket-takers list. With the pace of Sims at the other end, Wairarapa were always in the game.
In addition to these girls, Wairarapa may have found some new stars for the future, and the team will be in a healthy state come 2016 and beyond. Tahlia Jones-Dennes, in her first year at this level, ended up third on the run scorers list, including a high-score of 41*. She was ably supported by Caitlin Elliott, Kayarna Jones-Dennes, Elizabeth Cohr, Olivia Horsbrugh and Kate Sims. Ella Southey, Hattie Vincent and Olivia Clark had their moments at the bowling crease and will take home some first hand experience of watching their opening bowlers in action.
As is the case with a number of Wairarapa sides, the fielding was of a high standard with a number of excellent catches – over the last two days of the tournament not a single catch was dropped – complemented by some outstanding direct hit run-outs.
For the record, Wairarapa Girls had wins over Manawatu and Wellington, a close loss to Nelson and were competitive but well beaten by Taranaki and Hawkes Bay in the round robin. In the third vs fourth play-off Wairarapa batted well first-up against Taranaki, including a fine 20 not out by Caitlin Elliott as they made 99/8 off their 20. Unfortunately they were unable to pressure Taranaki through the middle overs, with Taranaki completing their win in the 19th over.