New Head Coach for the Wellington Blaze

Cricket Wellington are pleased to announce the signing of Christie van Dyk as Head Coach of the Wellington Blaze for the 2017-18 season.

A New Zealand Cricket Level III coach with experience in the Cricket Wellington representative programme, van Dyk’s coaching expertise has helped prepare many young players for elevation into the Firebirds set up with Luke Woodcock, James Franklin, and Steve Murdoch among those to have benefited from his tutorship.

His experience in the sport and region will be invaluable to the task at hand and he is excited by the prospect of working with the region’s top female cricketers.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to coach, encourage and support players again, and excited to continue my coaching career with the Wellington Blaze. I have a great understanding of different personality profiles as well as being able to get the best out of individuals.”

Passionate about cricket, van Dyk has been working with young athletes as Director of Cricket at Scots College. During his tenure, he assisted in the development and operation of the Hodge Indoor Sports Centre and was Head Coach of the Boys’ 1st XI. Never far from the Wellington coaching scene, van Dyk continued to work with some big names where time allowed, including assisting Wellington superstars, Grant Elliott and Sophie Devine.

“After a six-month break from cricket, I re-discovered my passion and enthusiasm for this fantastic game. I believe that I have used my time away from the game very well to further develop my skills as a coach.  Reflecting on my strengths, weaknesses and my constant desire to get better as a coach this will put me in a good stead to be better than before.”

Last season’s head coach, Matthew Bell, has added fatherhood to his role as WHITE FERNS’ assistant coach and steps down from coaching the Blaze to focus on those responsibilities. Bell’s one year tenure in the role saw the Blaze narrowly miss out on a place in the One Day Final, while he was also instrumental in the set-up that saw Wellington’s youngest superstar, Amelia Kerr, debut for the WHITE FERNS and Liz Perry return to the national side.

Manager, Anna Minot, has also made the decision to focus on family and Cricket Wellington’s Director of Cricket, Robbie Kerr, has emphasised the professional approach that both Minot & Bell brought to the Blaze programme in the last 12 months.

“Matt and Anna are two of the greats of cricket in Wellington and we’re grateful for their input into the ongoing development of female cricket in the region. They don’t do things by halves so their very busy schedules have seen their unavailability eventuate.”

Cricket Wellington are focused on making the upcoming season a successful one for women’s cricket, with a revamp of the women’s premier competition at the forefront. The Blaze programme has a history of success in developing players in to New Zealand representatives and ensuring development pathways are in place for cricketers in the region is vital to Cricket Wellington’s vision.

Robbie Kerr is delighted with the appointment of van Dyk and what that means for those who progress through those pathways to the high performance set-up.

“Christie is a proven and very capable coach with an incredible work ethic. His expertise in High Performance sport and cricket specifically will be instrumental in shaping the Blaze’s programme for the season ahead. With the women’s game going from strength to strength, we are confident that Christie will create an environment that players will thrive in.”

The 2017 Blaze winter training squad will be announced in the coming weeks with the squad scheduled to assemble at the start of August.