Photo Credit: New Zealand Cricket
The first white-ball contests of the 2023/24 NZC Domestic season are poised to get underway tomorrow (Saturday, 18 November) in Wellington, Palmerston North, and Whangārei with the opening clashes of the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield.
Wellington Blaze heads in as the defending champion in New Zealand’s national one-day women’s cricket championship, having defeated Dream11 Super Smash winners the Canterbury Magicians for last summer’s title in a four-run thriller.
Those two teams will have to wait until February 2024 for their rematch in the final two rounds of the double round robin this season, with teams playing each other on a Saturday and again on the Sunday at each host venue.
In an exciting first, this season also features day-night Hallyburton Johnstone Shield matches for the first time, with three games under lights on the summer’s menu.
Wellington Blaze is scheduled to play in the first-ever women’s List A day-night match, away to Northern Districts on Saturday, 25 November, as NZC seeks to better prepare Domestic female players for the world of international cricket.
In the meantime, the Blaze begins tomorrow by hosting the Otago Sparks (fifth last summer) at the Cello Basin Reserve, while the Magicians are away to last season’s third place-getter, the new-look Central Hinds, up the highway at Palmerston North’s Fitzherbert Park.
Erstwhile WHITE FERN Thamsyn Newton, who helped clinch the thriller for the Blaze in the Queenstown Grand Final last season, is set to make her debut for the Hinds, having relocated to Hawke’s Bay.
The Auckland Hearts (fourth in 2022/23) will be travelling north to Cobham Oval to meet Northern Districts in their first 50-over contest, all games scheduled to begin at 10.30am with the toss at 10am, and big-hitting former Hinds captain Jess Watkin in line to make her debut for ND.
Domestic women’s cricket has been contested in New Zealand since the 1930s, with the modern Hallyburton Johnstone Shield round robin bookending the Dream11 Super Smash T20 league window.
Each team plays 10 rounds, then the two top sides progress direct to the annual Hallyburton Johnstone Shield Grand Final.
Reflecting the growing strength across the board in women’s Domestic cricket, the coveted trophy has moved around the country in recent years.
Prior to returning to the capital in March, it had been lifted by the Otago Sparks (2021/22), Canterbury Magicians (2020/21), Auckland Hearts (2019/20) and Central Hinds (2018/19).