Legacy of the Blaze

The first Womens overseas touring team to visit New Zealand was in 1934/35 when the English Women came to New Zealand after their tour of Australia. As a result of the interest generated by this tour, Mr Hallyburton Johnstone from Auckland presented a trophy to be competed for on a Challenge basis and gave the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield (HJS) to Auckland to be the first holders. Wellington were the first team to lodge a challenge with the game being played at Eden Park in February 1936. Wellington won the game by 10 wickets and therefore became the first Wellington Women’s team to win a national trophy and successfully defended it on 4 occasions before losing it to Auckland.

The Hallyburton Johnstone Shield was played on a challenge basis in the early years until the first round-robin series was held in 1946/47. The first time that the 4 teams (Auckland, Canterbury, Otago and Wellington) gathered for a tournament at one venue was in Wellington (Basin Reserve & Kilbirnie Park) in 1949/50. Wellington, winning the Shield with 14 points from Auckland with 12, Canterbury 6 and Otago 0.

Wellington regained the HJS in 1949/50, the first occasion the HJS was held as a National Tournament, and successfully defended their title in 1950/51, Wellington with 12 points, Canterbury with 9 followed by Auckland (3) and Otago (0).

Wellington was about to start a period of dominance in the national league, continuing their good form in 1952/53 when they finished with 20 points, 2 points ahead of Auckland. They went on to successfully defend the HJ Shield in 1953/54 in the tournament held at Melville Park. Wellington again won back-to-back titles in 1958/59 and 1959/60 at Kilbirnie Park with Auckland finishing second on both occasions.

It wasn’ t until 1967/68 when Wellington had their next success in the HJ Shield in the tournament held at Te Whiti Park, Lower Hutt, again edging Auckland in the race to the title. A year later in 1969/70, they successfully defended their title at Hagley Park, Christchurch.

During the 1970s Wellington won four title in five years. They won the title at Devonport Domain in 1973/74 and followed up with victory again at Burnside Park, Christchurch in 1974/75. The following season saw Canterbury lift the Shield but Wellington regained it in a badly rain-effected tournament at Logan Park in Dunedin in 1976/77 and on home soil in Kilbirnie Park in 1977/78 they retrained their title.That was the last time Wellington won the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield with it being replaced by the Hansells Cup in 1982/83.

Wellington’s sole success in the Hansells Cup was in 1989/90 which was its 8th and final season, which ended Canterbury’s run of 11 consecutive seasons winning the women’s domestic competition. The Hansells Cup was then replaced by the Pub Charities tournament (50 overs) and then the State Insurance Cup in 1998/99.

Wellington’s sole success in the 50-over competitions during the State-sponsored tournaments was in the 2003/04 season when they shared the title with Canterbury due to the final being washed out. However, since the introduction of the Twenty20 League in 2007/08, Wellington has found great success winning the State League Twenty20 competition 2008/09 before going onto win the domestic Twenty20 title on two further occasions beating Canterbury in the final in 2012/13 and Otago in 2014/15. For a full History of the Women’s Domestic Game in New Zealand, please click Here (Credit: Evan Watkin)

The Wellington Blaze have a proud history of all players who have represented the province since it’s first game in 1933. Please see the list below (Or Download HERE) for the players who have each played a role to shape the Wellington Blaze through growth and development into the stronghold that we know today;