Wairarapa Cricket Association is just a few years short of celebrating its 125th anniversary – it was formed in 1894.
The club history is, like many small rural associations, is quite varied. Nevertheless, the three current club sides – Masterton Red Star, Lansdowne and Greytown – have been stalwarts since the 1930’s. At times there have been many clubs including three from South Wairarapa with Carterton and Featherston featuring alongside Greytown on many occasions. Greytown are the original establishment. They are the second oldest club in New Zealand being established in 1867.
When Rathkeale College opened in 1964, their 1st XI were soon to join the fray and along with the established Wairarapa College 1st XI, the two school sides have been an integral part of premier club cricket for more than 50 years.
The Blacks Caps side has a unique link with Wairarapa Cricket.
Former captain & current Black Caps player, Ross Taylor was raised in Masterton and still visits the town regularly. He came through the Wairarapa College and Lansdowne Club ranks.
Jesse Ryder was born and raised in the district and was a member of Masterton Red Star.
Michael Mason was born and raised in the South Wairarapa district and was a member of the Greytown club.
Doug Bracewell (nephew of Wairarapa and Central Districts legend by the same name) had 4 years of schooling at Rathkeale College. The Bracewell name is also represented in the Wairarapa with past Black Cap performers – notably Brendon (young Doug’s father and old Doug’s brother) who also represented the province in the 1970’s.
Other Wairarapa representatives of note include Richard Collinge, Roger Twose (only played for Wairarapa), Keith Thompson, Mike Shrimpton and Greg Todd while Michael Mason and Seth Rance spent much of their youth in the Greytown district.
The primary symbol of Minor Association cricket in New Zealand, the Furlong Cup (Hawke Cup), has spent some time in the Wairarapa. The cup first came to the district in 1920 for a year, before returning again in 1950. Between 1976 and 1979 Wairarapa withstood seven challenges in a famous defensive campaign. The most recent challenge for the Furlong Cup (Hawke Cup) was a few years ago, 2011/12 season.