Otago Sparks' Millie Cowan calls time on her career

Otago Sparks' Millie Cowan calls time on her career

Millie Cowan of Otago Sparks. © Getty Images

After nine seasons in the blue and yellow, Otago Sparks top-order batter Millie Cowan has called time on her cricketing career, the club announced earlier this week.

Having made her debut for Otago in January 2012, Cowan went on to play 64 one-day and 52 T20 matches for the Sparks. She was part of the squads that lifted the Hallyburton Johnston Shield in 2013-14 and then won the T20 competition in 2016-17. The right-hand batter scored over 1200 runs across formats for Otago, including her only List-A century (105 off 85 balls) against Northern Districts in 2017.

Reflecting on her time with the side, Cowan said she was thankful for the opportunity to represent the team on over 100 occasions.

“I think the best part of being an Otago Spark is the team atmosphere, and sense of belonging I feel when I’m with the group.” said Cowan. “There aren’t many female sports in New Zealand where you get the same level of opportunity for competition and funded travel as you do in cricket."

“Looking back on the experiences I’ve had around New Zealand with this team, I have been so lucky to experience those places with some great people which I’ll definitely miss.”

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Cowan, a dual sport representative, has played both cricket and hockey for Otago. Over the last four years, she has had to juggle her sporting commitments with her teaching role at Gore High School, and said she believes the time is right to step away and provide an opportunity to the young players coming through the system.

"The number of commitments over the summer months are only increasing for me, and I’ve found it difficult at times to fully commit to the team while living and working outside of Dunedin.” the 28-year-old explained. “The standard of female cricket is only increasing in New Zealand, and with that comes expectation around performance. I feel there are some brilliant young players in the Otago squad who deserve those opportunities”.

Cowan, who had a middling season in what was a disappointing time for Otago last year, scored 216 runs across formats in 2020-21. She thanked head coach Craig Cumming and others involved in the system who supprted her through her journey with the side.

“I would like to thank Warren Lees, Nathan King, Craig Cumming & Mark Bracewell for the opportunities and knowledge they have given me over the years. Special mention must go to my parents, who have been at almost every home game I’ve played. And most importantly, my teammates who have kept me coming back for more every year!”