New Zealand Cricket’s National Under 21 tournament gets underway at Lincoln University tomorrow. The tournament will give some of the country’s best young women cricketers a chance to show just what they are capable of.
Six Major Association teams will participate in the seven round tournament, which will be held over six days at Lincoln University in Canterbury.
The players will have plenty to play for as a good performance could see them promoted to their Major Association sides side in the Action Cricket competition. Further incentives include the chance to impress on-looking White Fern’s Coach Gary Stead and push for a chance to be selected for the New Zealand Emerging Players team when they face the Australian Youth side in March.
Defending title holders, Auckland, will be spear headed by Captain Maddie Green who has been in fantastic form for Auckland Hearts’ side. She will be helped by six other squad members from the provinces Action Cricket team at her dispense. Players like Georgia Guy and Lauren Down will be look to excel in the competition, as well as help develop some of the younger players in the team like Francesca Wilkinson. Wilkinson is coming straight from the New Zealand Community Trust Secondary Schools’ Tournament last week and will be looking to keep up her impressive from with the bat. With such experience in the side it is hard to see Auckland losing their crown.
Wellington looks best set to spoil their party with five front line players from the Blaze in the line-up. Maddy Chapman has been in outstanding touch in the domestic competition so far and will be supported by four other senior team members.
Northern Districts are also in with a sniff, boasting six provincial players and teen sensation Heidi Arndt. Arndt has played an incredible amount of cricket already this summer, featuring for the Spirit and Hillcrest High in last week’s Secondary Schools’ competition. She is one to look out for in the future and will be hoping to help her team succeed over the six day competition.
She’ll be facing members of her opposition from last week’s tournament when she comes up against a youthful Canterbury side. Hana Mauafu from Christchurch Girls High School has pushed her way into the side after a string of strong performance for her school team. She will be helped by three senior team players in the side and current White Fern Janet Brehaut who is manager.
Otago also have a youthful side, sporting many new faces amongst a few Spark’s players. There are six Southlanders included in the Otago side, all who will be hoping to catch the eye of the Otago Coach for further opportunities in domestic competition. Manager Lisa Grant will play an important role and be an experienced head around the side. Central Districts are another side filled with players for the future, only including three members from the Senior Hinds’ team. 19 year-old Hester Nesbitt will captain the young side as they look to upset the some of the more experienced sides in the competition.
It’s a show case of some of New Zealand’s best current cricketers and the White Ferns of tomorrow. It’s an opportunity like no other for these players to impress coaches, so you can expect them to bring their A game.