Lisa Griffith and Hannah Darlington, the allround duo from Sydney Thunder, will turn out for Otago Sparks in New Zealand’s domestic T20 competition— the Super Smash— this year. The pair have confirmed that they will be available for “all, or part of the competition” that is set to begin on Friday (December 13).
Griffith, who captained New South Wales for the first time this season in the Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL), has previously payed for the Sparks, having competed in the Super Smash last season. She played four matches, helping the side to two wins in that period, also finishing with best figures of 3 for 10 in their win over Northern Spirit.
Darlington, the 17-year-old seam bowling allrounder, is fresh of a successful stint with Thunder in the Women’s Big Bash League. Having played all 14 matches of the season, Darlington finished as the team’s highest wicket taker, also making useful contributions with the bat down the order and showing her sharpness in the field. Her performances saw her win the WBBL Young Gun of the year.
While Darlington will be available for the entire duration of the tournament, Griffith will feature in the first five rounds before returning to Australia to honor her commitments with NSW.
The duo will join the New Zealand duo of Suzie Bates and Katey Martin who will rejoin Sparks after their stints in Australia playing the WBBL for Adelaide Strikers and Melbourne Stars respectively.
Talent on the field aside, Sparks have also secured the services of Charlotte Edwards, former England captain, who will work as the team’s assistant coach for the matches to be played in Lincoln. Edwards, who has worked with Strikers, Southern Vipers and is also director of women’s cricket at Hampshire, will assist Nathan King, head coach of Sparks, for the first four rounds of the competition.
Sparks, who have had a poor start to the domestic season— sitting at the bottom of the table in the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield— will be desperate to kick start their T20 campaign on a positive note. They clash with defending champions Wellington Blaze in their opening game of the season on Friday in Lincoln.