While several Wellington Blaze representatives have been making headlines in the UK this winter, coach Christie van Dyk and many of his players are preparing for the coming summer from a chilly Wellington.
Among those getting ready for a season in black and yellow are two players who are coming back to the Blaze after seasons away, with Thamsyn Newton and Rebecca Burns signing on for 2018-19.
Newton debuted for Wellington in 2011 and has gone on to feature for the WHITE FERNS and enjoyed a season of Women’s Big Bash cricket with Perth last year. A return to the national team is firmly in Newton’s sights,
“I enjoyed my time with Canterbury, but I want to earn back my place in the WHITE FERNS and I feel coming home to Wellington will challenge me and provide me with further opportunities to improve my game.”
For Burns, who made her Wellington debut the same weekend as Newton, a Wellington return felt like a natural fit,
“I’m really grateful for the opportunities I had with CD but Wellington is home and I’m excited to be coming back to where it all started.”
Both players expressed their desire to work with Blaze coach Christie van Dyk, with Newton highlighting the culture he has built in a short time,
“The success of the Blaze last year has only fuelled my desire to come home and work under Christie and the culture he is building within the team.
“His style as a coach and the ability to get the best out of his players is what I am excited about.”
For van Dyk, there has been little respite as he quickly shifted focus from his first season at the helm towards making 2018-19 a success. As he outlines, his charges have been hard at work as well,
“I don’t really have an off-season and I’ve got no complaints about that – planning for the campaigns ahead is really exciting.
“I’ve also been working one-on-one with a number of players and it always drives me that much more to see how committed they are to putting in the work over the off-season.”
Skipper Liz Perry provides some insight in to the off-season from a player’s perspective,
“Christie’s continuous planning really highlights his commitment and dedication to our team.
“He’s also been tirelessly working with players over the past couple of months, but the official pre-season starts at on the 4th July and the team are really eager to get back together.
All of these hard yards mean we all know what is required if we are to win both titles this year – there is genuine excitement amongst the group for the season ahead.”
While that coming season will see Burns and Newton return, the Blaze also say farewell to Eimear Richardson who moves north to take up the role of General Manager – Community Cricket with Northern Districts.
Richardson, who is currently away with the Irish national team, joined Wellington from Central Districts for the 2014-15 season and has been an integral part of the squad ever since.
Her captain and colleague at Cricket Wellington, Liz Perry, paid tribute to the all-rounder,
“Eimear has contributed a huge amount to cricket in the capital, on and off the field.
“Her adaptability, determination, and sense of humour made her incredibly valuable to our side and she is definitely going to be missed.”
Coach van Dyk chimed in with the final word,
“Of course I wish Eims well in her move north, she deserves every success.”
“So long as that success doesn’t come against us!”