An inspired spell of bowling from Rathkeale College Head Boy (2011) Ben Foster was just one of the highlights of this historic victory.
Going into the match Taranaki were confident of retaining their sizeable lead in the race for a Hawke Cup challenge but the local boys had other ideas.
Wairarapa won the toss and boldly set about batting on a green wicket.
Jamie Holmes and Tim Lucas set the course for the day with an opening stand of 60.
Despite a hiccup mid innings when 6 wickets fell for 30 runs Wairarapa finished with 333 after 99 overs. Henry Cameron was the most impressive with a cultured knock of 91. He was assisted by captain Greg Todd (51), Dean Van deVenter (42), Holmes with 53 and Sam Curtis who held the ship together through the lower order hiccup to finish 26 not out.
Taranaki survived a few anxious moments before the umpires called play to a halt 3 overs early.
The “Batsman’s paradise” that had appeared to exist on day one with the full onslaught of the Taranaki attack, suddenly turned into a challenging wicket when the Wairarapa bowlers set about putting the visitors under pressure early on the second morning. Daniel Ingham and Seth Rance set the tone with Ingham claiming the first two scalps before limping off with an Achilles injury. He was replaced by a fired up Dean Van deVenter who finished with four wickets. Greg Todd stepped into the attack when Seth Rance was invalided out of the attack with an injury. He claimed the prize scalp of Deon Ebrahim. Taranaki were reeling at 65 – 7 before some lower order resistance was offered as Wairarapa sought to find bowling replacements for Ingham and Rance. It came in the form of Ben Foster who finished the innings at 101 with figures of 2-0.
Forced to follow on with about 65 overs to survive the main interest was centred around whether or not Wairarapa could muster the bowling firepower that was evident in the first innings. After just a few overs Van deVenter also limped to the sideline with soreness in his knees. Up stepped Foster, claiming wickets in his first , second, fourth and fifth overs in a remarkable spell that took Taranaki from 30 – 0 to 41-4. Three of his four victims had their stumps shattered.
The damage was extreme in the Wairarapa camp, however, for in his comeback spell, Foster cramped up and was bowler number four who had to be replaced.
The remainder of the match became a see-saw affair as Wairarapa chipped away at attaining the final 6 Taranaki wickets. Two further heroes stood up throughout. Dean Van deVenter showed great courage in returning twice to the bowling crease despite being in great pain. It was fitting that he was able to claim the final wicket. But above all of them was Greg Todd, whose second innings bowling feat of 22 overs 2 – 31 was monumental and a great example for his loyal band of men to follow.
In the end Taranaki succumbed for 216 with just 19 balls remaining in the match.
An outright victory to “The Bush” by an innings and 16 runs. The 10 points (to nil) return means that Taranaki are now joined at the top of the table by Wairarapa.
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