2016 is an historic northern summer with the launch of the Kia Super League bringing the world’s best cricketers to England for an exciting new T20 competition. Among the globe-trotting players involved are a group of our own WHITE FERNS, while two other New Zealanders will also be involved in the women’s County Championship.
Here are the details of where you’ll find our cricketers in action at the top level of English cricket this winter.
Suzie warmed up for the Kia Super League by playing a leading hand in taking Kent to a T20 County title before moving east for the season’s feature tournament. Based in Hampshire, the Southern Vipers will be a formidable team in the inaugural Kia Super League with WHITE FERNS’ captain Suzie Bates in the line-up alongside recently-retired England captain, Charlotte Edwards. As one of 18 overseas players in the KSL, Suzie will benefit greatly from her early-season experience with Kent, giving her a taste of the conditions that few other imports will get.
Sara McGlashan proved to be one of the stars of the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League in Australia last season, something the Vipers will be hoping she can repeat in the KSL. Sara adds to a wealth of experience in the Vipers’ squad which, with Bates, Edwards, McGlashan, & Lydia Greenway, boasts four of the 12 most experienced T20I players in history. Sara has also signed up to play for Sussex in the County T20 competition that acts as a precursor to the Super League.
Signed up as a late replacement for Australian Megan Schutt, Morna Nielsen will join her WHITE FERNS’ teammates at the Vipers to make the Hampshire franchise really live up to the ‘Southern’ part of their name. In last summer’s Women’s Big Bash League, Morna showed her T20 class, finishing among the top wicket-takers and holding the leading average (for bowlers with 10+ overs in the tournament).
Among the 18 imports in the Kia Super League there is just one wicketkeeper; Rachel Priest. This underlines the credentials of the WHITE FERNS’ ‘keeper, who joins one of the game’s biggest stars, WT20-winning captain Stefanie Taylor, at the Storm. Rachel has experienced County cricket before with a season at Staffordshire in 2010. While she only made two T20 appearances, one of those saw her hit 67 off 43 balls in a big win over Durham. This season, Berkshire have offered Rachel the chance to warm up for the Super League with a short County stint.
Along with Morna Nielsen, Amy is another late addition to the Kia Super League. Her presence at Lancashire means that four of the six sides in the competition have at least one WHITE FERN in the line-up. Amy was in top form during the WBBL and her international experience (80 ODIs and 71 T20Is) will be a huge benefit. With her career best T20I bowling figures of 6-19 coming against England in English conditions, expect her to be a key all-rounder in 2016’s inaugural competition.
With Australian star Meg Lanning ruled out of the Kia Super League, WHITE FERNS’ opening bowler, Lea Tahuhu has received the call-up to join the Stars just days out from the start of the tournament. Although it’s the off-season in New Zealand, Lea should be well-prepared for cricket having been a part of the Canterbury women’s side that recently won the national indoor cricket title. As one of the fastest bowlers in the world, Lea adds even more star quality to the exciting new competition.
“It’s a really exciting time to be involved with women’s cricket as the game is going truly global. It’s great that young girls can see there’s a career in the game and, for me personally, it’s fantastic to test myself in different conditions.”
– Sophie Devine on being involved with the KSL after the success of the WBBL last season
Loughborough won’t be a name familiar to most New Zealanders, but the university town in Leicestershire should grow in popularity this winter with Sophie Devine heading there for the Kia Super League. The Lightning are stacked with allrounders as Australia’s Elyse Perry and South Africa’s Dane van Niekirk complete the import spots alongside Sophie. The trio are currently ranked numbers 1, 2, and 6 respectively on the ICC’s top T20I allrounder rankings, giving the Lightning plenty of firepower with bat and ball.
The Kia Super League isn’t the only show in town this winter and two other New Zealanders have been plying their trade in county cricket.
After taking 5 for 36 in just her second WHITE FERNS’ ODI in 2014, Holly went on to have her best domestic season in 2015-16, averaging under 18 with the ball in the 50-over competition. Those performances have given her an opportunity in Division 1 County Cricket with Middlesex who will be looking to improve on their mid-table finish in 2015.
Down’s quality will aid other players by training and playing alongside her as experiences can be shared.
– Oxfordshire press release on Down’s arrival
Fresh off a career-best domestic season with the Auckland Hearts, Lauren joins Oxfordshire for a taste of Division 3 County Cricket. As well as playing for Oxford Cricket Club and Oxfordshire, Lauren will also be involved with coaching during her time in England’s South East. Oxfordshire are excited about what Lauren brings to their thriving women’s cricket development programme.