It will be a shame if Jamie How walks away from the Central Districts Stags after his axing last week from the Twenty20 campaign, according to Viv Stephens.

"I hope Jamie bites the bullet to accept the Twenty20 is over and, if he's picked for the other formats. he'll give it his best shot," says Stephens who last month stepped down as a CD board member.

Watching the Georgie Pie Super Smash round of matches at McLean Park, Napier, at the weekend, the 61-year-old said the veteran opening batsman deserved better following a stellar career.

Devon Hotel-sponsored CD coach Heinrich Malan dropped How and allrounder Kieran Noema-Barnett last week based on their poor statistics of the past two years.


"I can't find a guy who's as loyal as Jamie. I'd like to see him go out in a better way," says Stephens, a former CD Hinds women's captain (1979-82) and New Zealand batsman (1975-77).

The Taradale High School digital technology and PE teacher says there's often no easy way to control such ructions which tend to tear teams apart.

"There appears to be probably more to the ins and outs of it and why the two were dumped."

However, Stephens says it's vital to understand it's the coach's prerogative to make tough calls when the team are under duress.

"You have to stick by him [Malan] because at the end of the day it's the coach's decision.

"He's shown some faith in the young guys and they have taken the opportunity," she says of Dane Cleaver and Dave Meiring who made their T20 debut.

"Our guys [CD Stags] are struggling.

"Yes, they are young and you give them a chance, but somewhere along the way you've got to have talent," she says of a predominantly youthful side who have no overseas guns for hire like other major associations.

"It's disappointing that Jamie and Kieran have been cast aside."

Malan said on Sunday, after CD failed to make the T20 play-offs yet again, he was going to speak to How and Noema-Barnett and expected to see them resume training with CD tomorrow in Napier for the four-day Plunket Shield and one-day Ford Trophy campaigns.

Foxton-born, Manawatu-educated Stephens moved to the Bay because of husband Phillip's work.

Her brother, Graham Sexton, still operates the Himatangi coastal farm their father, Basil, established.

While attending Manawatu teachers' college, she found there was no women's cricket so she played for the institution's second XI men's team.

A lecturer, John Bolt, suggested she travel to Wellington to play in the women's competition and the rest is history.

"John was a fantastic guy and a good coach who died young from cancer."

She played for the club in the capital on Saturdays and stayed back to compete for the Wellington rep team on Sundays.

"God, it used to be long weekends but I just loved it.

"It's an individual sport but to do well you have to have a team that's doing well, too."

Stephens was a founding member, with Jan Davies (Taranaki) and Pam Harvey (Manawatu, now living in Wellington) in helping establish CD Cricket.

A CD women's rep team was selected in the summer of 1978-79 after a game in Palmerston North to cater for the scattered region.

"Men played under a separate identity. They were helpful but didn't want us to compete under the same organisation."

It wasn't until the mid-1990s that the two genders came under one umbrella of CD established in 1950.

In 1994-95, ex-CEO Blair Furlong approached her to become a board member and she accepted. It wasn't a shoo-in ceremony when the board came along in early 2000.

"I had to go around the [eight] associations touting for votes.

"We never had women on the board so I felt I could do something for not just women but the young, too."

Stephens, who was a board director, management committee member and chairman, stayed for 14 years.

"People started putting names forward to come on to the board."

It wasn't just accountants and lawyers but anyone who could improve things for the worst of major associations because of its spread.

"We ask so much of our coaches and three to four workers to get around the regions to please everybody.

"I have always been a very loyal person because they do an amazing job for the money they get," she says.

Furlong, Hugh Henderson and now Neil Hood have worked tirelessly with innovative ideas hard to come by. "Pods [Hood] is young and enthusiastic and I hope he'll get the support he deserves."

Hood said last month CD was in the financial doldrums.