Photo Credit: Auckland Cricket
The f2023/24 HEARTS contract list has been released, with some exciting young talent being awarded a place at the table for the season ahead.
Wicketkeeper Elizabeth Buchanan joins the contract list after making her T20 debut against the Central Hinds last season, while left-arm orthodox spinning all-rounder Kate Irwin and pace bowler Olivia Anderson also earn their places on the list.
Daniel Archer, Auckland Cricket’s Director of Performance and Talent, sees the new contract group as forging a new path in HEARTS history.
“We are thrilled about the group of players coming together to make up the HEARTS squad for the upcoming domestic season. There is a wonderful opportunity for individuals, and the group collectively, to start writing an exciting new chapter following the retirement of some generational players at the end of last season,” says Archer.
“Congratulations to Elizabeth, Kate and Olivia on their first domestic playing agreements, and we can’t wait to get the group finalised and back together to begin our preparation for the season ahead.”
Former Epsom Girls Grammar School First XI skipper Buchanan is the only contracted wicketkeeper after the retirement of Sarah Carnachan, and with Izzy Gaze contracted to the White Ferns, she will likely see some more game time in 2023/24.
“Thank you to the many people who have contributed to my cricket development so far. A special acknowledgment to the parents and coaches who have transported me to countless trainings and games while I’ve been a boarder at Epsom Girls Grammar,” says Buchanan.
The 2022/23 season was a huge one for Irwin, who made her List A debut against Wellington Blaze on Waitangi Day, only days after representing New Zealand in the ICC Women’s Under-19 T20 World Cup.
Earlier in the season, she was the leading wicket-taker and the 4th highest run-scorer while representing Auckland U19s in the Women’s U19 National Tournament.
“I’m super excited for this upcoming season and the opportunities it will bring. I’m so grateful to have been given a contract, and I just can’t wait to be a part of the HEARTS this year and learn from the coaches and senior players,” says Irwin.
Pace bowler Anderson also represented New Zealand at the Women’s Under-19 T20 World Cup. She is yet to make her debut for the HEARTS and the call-up to the contract list comes after spending important time with the group last season.
“I’m really excited to get my first contract to the HEARTS this season. I was fortunate enough to join them for a few weeks before I went away to the U19 World Cup, and that really motivated me to push for a contract this season,” says Anderson.
“I plan to learn as much as I can, and I look forward to taking my opportunity when the time comes.”
While the retirements of Carnachan and legends Katie Perkins and Holly Huddleston at the end of last season took a huge chunk of experience away from the group, a breakout season for some serious young talent gives the contract list a fresh, exciting feel going into 2023/24.
Prue Catton, Bella Armstrong, and, in particular, Saachi Shahri all made major contributions to the HEARTS’ Hallyburton Johnstone Shield and Super Smash campaigns, while Amie Hucker stepped up to the plate as the leader of the bowling attack. All have been awarded contracts for the upcoming season.
Breearne Illing, who missed much of 2022/23 through injury, swing bowler Amberly Parr, speedster Josie Penfold, and all-round dynamo Skye Bowden round out the pace bowling group.
Legspinner Makayla Templeton regains her contract after playing her first season for the HEARTS in 2022/23. She joins Irwin and all-rounder Anna Browning in the spin-bowling department and will no doubt also be joined by White Fern Fran Jonas on the field during the upcoming season.
Lauren Down, the HEARTS skipper in 2022/23, sits out this season for personal reasons and will not be contracted to the HEARTS or the White Ferns.
The HEARTS’ 2023/24 season begins on the 18th of November with a Hallyburton Johnstone Shield fixture against Northern Districts at Cobham Oval, Whangarei.
Olivia Anderson (Parnell Cricket Club)
Bella Armstrong (Cornwall Cricket Club)
Skye Bowden (Howick Pakuranga Cricket Club)
Anna Browning (Takapuna District Cricket Club)
Elizabeth Buchanan (Auckland University Cricket Club)
Prue Catton (Auckland University Cricket Club)
Amie Hucker (Cornwall Cricket Club)
Breearne Illing (Cornwall Cricket Club)
Kate Irwin (Takapuna District Cricket Club)
Amberly Parr (Howick Pakuranga Cricket Club)
Josie Penfold (Howick Pakuranga Cricket Club)
Saachi Shahri (Howick Pakuranga Cricket Club)
Makayla Templeton (Papatoetoe Cricket Club)