The Wellington Blaze will begin their quest to win the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield for the first time since 2015 when they line up against the Otago Sparks in back-to-back matches at the Basin Reserve this weekend.
The two teams will clash on Saturday and then again on Sunday as teams switch from Burger King Super Smash T20 mode back in to the 50-over format.
Suzie McDonald, Wheturangi Charteris and Allex Evans will make their first appearances of the season for the Blaze after being unavailable for the Super Smash central round in Lincoln last month.
The Blaze will again be led by head coach Christie van Dyk and captain Liz Perry. Sophie Devine and Amelia Kerr are unavailable for the first two rounds of action due to WHITE FERNS commitments at the ICC World T20 competition in the West Indies.
Perry is unavailable for Saturday’s match, so Lucy Doolan will take the reigns as captain. Perry will return to the team for Sunday’s match.
Perry said the Blaze camp was full of excitement leading into the opening round.
“The girls have been working hard since July with off-season preparations and we have really started to gel as a unit over the last month. The girls can’t wait to get kick off their 50 over campaign, as this title has eluded the group in the past. Christie has prepared us well as batting and bowling units, so it will be great to test ourselves against Otago this weekend.”
The 2018/19 national one-day competition comprises 10 rounds across the summer, culminating in a national final which has been reintroduced to the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield this season, to be held on March 9 2019.
Saturday’s match starts at 10.30am and Sunday’s match will start at 10.00am. Spectators entry is free.
Wellington Blaze squad | Hallyburton Johnstone Shield | Rounds 1 & 2:
Liz Perry (captain)