New women's cricket competition

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TOP CLASS: Sara McGlashan is the first big-name signing for the new SKYCITY Hamilton NPL competition. PHOTO/FILE
TOP CLASS: Sara McGlashan is the first big-name signing for the new SKYCITY Hamilton NPL competition. PHOTO/FILE

A new women's competition designed by Northern Districts Cricket has already attracted top New Zealand players from outside the region such as White Ferns player Sara McGlashan.

An internal review was the starting point for Northern Districts Cricket when they decided to look at ways of improving results from their senior female representatives.

The Northern Spirit had struggled in recent times to win games, much in part to teenage girls leaving cricket in favour of other sports and, apart from an elite group of a few, it was hard for females to experience regular quality cricket.

One of the recommendations of the review was to introduce a competition to replace the existing senior district association competition.

Northern Districts asked their players and other key stakeholders what they would like to see in a female cricket competition, and the Northern Premier League (NPL) emerged from those discussions.

In a new move for cricket in New Zealand, the NPL would consist of four non-regional teams which would compete across six Sundays during the cricket season. The four teams would be selected to ensure the talent is spread as evenly as possible to ensure competitive matches.

Peter Roach, CEO of Northern Districts Cricket, said providing a quality cricket experience was essential to the success of the competition.

"Every game of the NPL will be an event in its own right. We have come up with four new team names, designed new uniforms, and will provide quality grounds, quality umpires, coaches, managers and scorers. These will all be in place for the sole purpose to expose our players to quality competition to develop their games."

Northern Districts commissioned PANMedia to design the team names and branding with the aim to appeal to a younger female audience. Power, Sonic, Velocity and Galaxy were developed alongside bright, bold logos and playing kits.

SKYCITY Hamilton was the new naming rights sponsor.

McGlashan, one of the best female players in the world who has recently returned to New Zealand after playing in England, jumped at the opportunity to play in the Hamilton NPL.
"The competition is a great opportunity to play quality cricket and also a chance to try and help raise the profile of women's cricket in New Zealand," she said.

"I've been lucky enough to play in Australia's Big Bash and England's Super League so it's exciting there is another competition to be involved in."

Roach said this was a key platform in the overall strategy to grow the number of women playing and engaging in cricket.

"We are serious about it, and have invested heavily to ensure that this competition quickly becomes one of the best women's sporting competitions in NZ."

Captains, coaches and players would be named soon with the first matches of the 6 round league to be held at the Bay Oval, Mt Maunganui on Sunday October 30.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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