Injured teen spinner to join Devon club
There's good news and bad news for Nelson cricketer Dan Wightman.
The bad news is that the left- arm spinner will be out of action for the next six weeks after breaking the middle finger of his bowling hand while fielding for his Waimea Toi Toi United club side against Stoke-Nayland last Saturday.
"[Stoke-Nayland batsman] Ben Homan hit one at me at point and I just got it right on the end of the finger," Wightman explained.
But the good news is that the talented 19-year-old tweaker is heading to England in around three months' time to link up with the Torquay club in the Devon premier league.
His first game with Torquay is not until May 4, so his finger should be well healed by then. However, he's disappointed at having to miss a good deal of the remaining Nelson and Kelvin Scoble Trophy one-day club series, with his WTTU team unbeaten in both competitions. Wightman holds a British passport by virtue of his English-born father and will spend around four months with Torquay.
"Apparently [Torquay's] quite a lot like Nelson, so that's a good thing. It's quite a touristy place."
It won't be his first overseas experience. Along with his Nelson representative team-mate Connor Neynens, Wightman was also part of the Willows team that completed an eight-match tour to Sri Lanka in 2010.
But it is his first full season abroad and Wightman has already had a taste, albeit brief, of the big time.
A member of New Zealand's 30-man training squad for the ICC Under-19 World Cup last year, he has already represented Central Districts in two first-class matches.
He had previously starred for CD at under-17 and under-18 level, topping the CD wicket charts with 12 wickets (at 27.58) during the national under-18 tournament in 2010-11.
Wightman marked his first-class debut against Otago in February last year by taking 0-47, followed by 3-9 in the second innings including the wickets of Black Caps Neil Broom, Jimmy Neesham and Neil Wagner.
He then backed up with the economical figures of 0-21 and 1-45 against Auckland, including the wicket of recently selected New Zealand T20 player Colin Munro.
Wightman has yet to feature for the Stags this season due to leg-spinner Tarun Nethula's domestic availability after he was dropped from the Black Caps. The selection of Indian-born left- arm spinner Ajaz Patel has been another unexpected obstacle.
Wightman has also played premier cricket for Riccarton in Christchurch while studying a sports and recreation management degree at Lincoln University. But England provides a chance for him to further his playing experience in his bid to try and crack the Stags' lineup.
"I want to break into the CD scene a bit more, so I want to further my skills there."
- © Fairfax NZ News