Suzie Bates adds real Sparks to Southland
New Zealand women's cricket captain Suzie Bates has become a regular in Southland as she tries to inspire more young girls to take up a sport traditionally associated with men.
Bates was back in Southland yesterday visiting schools in a push to get more girls interested in playing cricket and to also promote her team Otago Sparks.
They have upcoming fixtures against the Auckland Hearts at Queens Park in Invercargill this weekend.
Otago and Auckland will square-off in a Twenty20 game starting at 4pm tomorrow night and then will play two, 50 overs per side games on Saturday and Sunday starting at 10.30am.
Before tomorrow night's Twenty20 match,Southland Cricket are holding a festival day at Queens Park which Bates and other members of the Otago Sparks team will take part in.
Bates said she enjoyed coming south to Invercargill and helping to grow the sport in the region.
"With (Southland Cricket development manager) Emma Campbell driving the girls' cricket I've really enjoyed coming down here and doing the girls-specific days," Bates said yesterday in between school visits.
"She's doing a really good job with numbers, so there's a lot of work to do.
"I've been coming down for the past three years and doing bits and pieces."
Bates has had a busy schedule recently.
She played in the World T20 Championship in Sri Lanka and then linked up with the Western Fury to play in the early stages of the Australian domestic competition.
However, for many of her Otago Sparks team-mates this weekend will be the first hitout for sometime.
Among the players lining up for the Sparks in this weekend's fixtures are Southland's Emma Campbell, Kate Stiven and Ashleigh White.
Friday: Sparks v Hearts Twenty20 match at 4pm
Saturday: 50-over match at 10.30am
Sunday: 50-over match at 10.30am.
Otago Sparks: Suzie Bates (captain), Katey Martin, Sarah Tsukigawa, Lisa Grant, Victoria Abbott, Millie Cowan, Sarah Osborne, Polly Inglis, Kylie Crowley, Emma Campbell, Rebecca Henderson, Ashleigh White, Kate Stiven.
Auckland Hearts: Sarah Carnachan, Rosie Cox, Samantha Curtis, Lauren Down, Maddy Green, Paula Gruber, Georgia Guy, Holly Huddleston, Arlene Kelly, Regina Lili'i, Victoria Lind (captain), Roz McNeil, Katie Perkins, Megan Tremaine.