Central District launches super league tournament for women

Central Hinds ©Twitter/White_Ferns

Central District Cricket Association (CDCA) has announced a new women’s cricket tournament named the Central Super League (CSL) on Friday (October 16).

The new competition is set to be launched in November and will feature four new franchise teams with up and coming cricketers from Central Districts forming the squads. The event will serve as a pathway for the players to make it to the Central Hinds squad.

The new four teams-New Plymouth Power, Palmerston North Tui, Tararua Kotahi and the Coastal Challengers Levin will compete in the inaugural edition of the CSL. The competition will feature six rounds with two rounds of 50-over matches during the first weekend in Palmerston North and will be followed by four rounds of T20 matches in Levin. The 50-over matches will be played on November 28 and 29 and the T20 matches are scheduled for February 27 and 28. A 52-player draft to finalise the squads will take place on October 23.

Jamie Watkins, CDCA coach and female performance and pathways, head coach of the Central Hinds, termed the competition as an exciting opportunity for the cricketers in the Central District to compete against each other in an evenly matched competition.

“This is a hugely exciting opportunity for female performance cricket in Central Districts,” said Watkins on the announcement. “Currently we have a big gap between the level of cricket at The Shrimpton Trophy and the jump to Hinds level, as well as the fact that only four of our eight Districts have Shrimpton Trophy teams — largely due to the logistics involved, with our geographic spread across the North and South Islands.”

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“The Central Super League will give an opportunity to the best players from all eight of our Districts to be involved in an evenly-matched competition, no matter where they are based within CD.”

All the four teams have been allocated with a marquee signing ahead of the draft. New Zealand pacer Hannah Row will feature in the tournament for Palmerston North Tui while wicket-keeper Natali Dodd will be making her appearance for New Plymouth Power. Jess Watkin, who has a development contract with New Zealand Cricket (NZC), has been named the marquee player of Coastal Challengers Levin and Hinds List A captain Anlo Van Deventer will start for the Tararua Kotahi side.

Natalie Dodd in action for Central Hinds. © Getty Images

“As well as providing a more competitive level of competition between Women’s List A cricket and Districts level, it will also provide players with more opportunity to be seen so that they can push for selection to our Hinds and our CD Under 19 squads,” Watkins added.

“It will also provide an extra coaching opportunity for our identified coaches, people who are part of CD’s District Association coaching network. So, it’s a very exciting opportunity to increase our depth both on and off the park, and to build on the great work that has been done throughout CD on the female pathway.”

Kate Gaging, Under-21 Central District player, feels the competition is a great opportunity for them to develop as players.

“It will be so exciting not just for myself, but for all the girls from the Nelson region to have this opportunity to play alongside and against the North Island players,” she said.

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“We’ve been playing club cricket with men down here, and training as a pretty small group of female players with an age range that includes a lot of quite young players.”

19-year-old Gaging is also hoping to use the tournament as an opportunity to test herself against the players from the Hinds side.

“I’m very excited to see what it’s like to play a lot of women who have five- or 10-years’ experience behind them in competitions like The Shrimpton Trophy — as well as the chance to test myself against Central Hinds,” she added.

“The standard is going to be good for sure. I really want to get up there and it’s exciting, 12 matches in which all of us from across CD are competing together, instead of us just hearing snippets of what’s going on up north.”

Pete de Wet, CEO of CDCA, said the tournament is part of their commitment to the development of women’s game in the region and will help in increasing the depth of the Hinds side in the future.

“We’re committed to now finding ways to increase both the depth of the squad and the quality of preparation we can provide to those Domestic players and aspirants, as part of our overall strategy to grow the number of women playing and engaging in cricket,” he said.