Selector-coach Sam Curtis doesn’t mince words when asked to explain the dismal Wairarapa batting effort in their rain-shortened Hawke Cup qualifying round senior men’s cricket match with Taranaki in New Plymouth last weekend.

Wairarapa may well have set a record for the lowest score by a senior side representing this province when they were dismissed for a paltry 34 in their first innings, a total made to look even worse when Taranaki raced through to 245-1 in reply before asking Wairarapa to bat again.

And this time they did a little better, reaching 52-3 before stumps were pulled, enough to earn them a draw when the entire second day’s play was washed out.

Curtis, who was unable to travel to New Plymouth because of a prior engagement, was adamant the fact Wairarapa went there without half their first-string players should not be used as an excuse for the wretched batting.

“We always knew it would be a struggle but that was awful, you can’t say anything else,” he said.

For Curtis the problem stemmed from too many of the players not having to work hard to cement their places in the Wairarapa squad because of a lack of depth on the club scene.

“The gulf between our club cricket and rep cricket is huge and that means our rep guys have to put a lot of extra time in to get themselves ready for the higher level, and unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be happening,” Curtis said.

“They need to recognise they are playing for their province and with that comes responsibility. Pride has to be a big part of it.”

The good news is that most of those unable to play in New Plymouth are likely to front up for the next Hawke Cup qualifying round match against Hawke’s Bay in Napier on Saturday week.

Curtis is recovering from a finger injury but while he may miss club cricket this weekend he is optimistic about being back to full fitness for the Napier trip.

His presence would stiffen the batting, as would the return of Rathkeale College duo Harry Clinton-Baker and George Deans, both of whom have shown the composure and discipline to occupy the crease for long periods.

Wairarapa Times Age – Gary Caffell 6th Dec 2012