Wellington Blaze announce squad for 2020-21 season

Wellington Blaze secured their third consecutive T20 title in 2019-20. © Getty Images

The Wellington Blaze trio of Olivia Boivin, Georgia Plimmer and Xara Jetly have earned their maiden domestic contracts after being named in Blaze’s list for the 2020-21 season.

Jetly, an off-spinner, has been part of the Blaze squad for the last three season, but only enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2019-20. The 19-year-old finished the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield campaign as the team’s joint-highest wicket-taker with seven scalps in nine matches, including a best of 3 for 35 against Otago Sparks in her final match of the season. She showed great control through the tournament, going at only 4.04 runs per over. She was also a member of the Super Smash winning side, having broken into the team at the back end of the tournament.

Boivin, the allrounder, made her List-A debut last season against Northern Districts. While the 21-year-old played only one game, she impressed through her outings for Wellington A and as skipper of the Hutt District. Meanwhile, 16-year-old Plimmer made some useful contributions at the top of the order in her five List-A appearances.

Blaze head coach Ivan Tissera expressed delight at being able to offer the young trio their maiden contracts.

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“This is just reward for the three players’ hard work last season and throughout the winter,” he said. “All three players have shown real promise when given their opportunities for the Blaze and we’ve been really pleased with their development – we’re now looking forward to seeing how they perform this summer.”

Among others to receive contracts are wicket-keeper Jess McFadyen, allrounder Thamsyn Newton and leg-spinner Deanna Doughty. McFadyen, who spent much of last season in the shadow of former international Rachel Priest will be Blaze’s first choice with the gloves this year. She enjoyed a good run in the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield last season, scoring a career-best 153 not out against Otago in the final round of league matches. She finished as the side’s top run-getter – fourth in the overall list – with 400 runs in nine matches at an average of 66.66.

Both Newton and Doughty – who recently earned her maiden call-up to the New Zealand squad for the tour of Australia – will add great depth and experience to the squad.

Batter Caitlin King, and bowlers Maneka Singh and Beth Molony have also been named among the group of contracted players. All three will be hoping to secure their spots in the XI, having been unable to nail down their places in both formats.

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Meanwhile, Blaze’s wider squad consists of as many as five centrally contracted players, including the likes of Sophie Devine, Maddy Green, Amelia Kerr, Jess Kerr and Leigh Kasperek. Opening batter Rebecca Burns is the recipient of one of eight development contracts handed out by New Zealand cricket.

All of Devine, Green and Amelia will be unavailable for the opening rounds of the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield (beginning on November 21), due to their Women’s Big Bash League commitments in Australia. They will, however, return in time for the side’s Super Smash campaign which is set to begin on Christmas eve.

“It will obviously be great to have such a big injection of talent for the Super Smash campaign,” said Tissera. “We’re looking forward to being able to build a lot of depth in the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield campaign when the White Ferns are away, and that can only be good for the future of women’s cricket in Wellington.”

“We have a lot of young players in the squad, seven that are still teenagers, so that can only be a good thing looking forward to the future.”

The teenage trio of Tash Codyre, Jamie Mason-Jones and Antonia Hamilton have also been included in the squad. They are however, not contracted.

Squad: Olivia Boivin, Rebecca Burns, Tash Codyre Sophie Devine, Dee Doughty, Maddy Green, Antonia Hamilton, Xara Jetly, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Jess Kerr, Caitlin King, Jamie Mason-Jones, Jess McFadyen, Beth Molony, Thamsyn Newton, Georgia Plimmer, Maneka Singh

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