Domestic rivalry puts Ponies in separate stables

Tomorrow the Auckland Hearts travel to Palmerston North to take on the Central Hinds in Round Four of the New Zealand Women’s Domestic Competition.

However, despite it being a ‘home’ game for the Hinds, several of their team ironically work and live up in Auckland!

Five players from the Takapuna Ponies are involved in the weekend’s cricket, two from the Hinds and three from the Hearts.

“I’m proud of all my girls, but it is a first to have five in the one game,” says Takapuna Ponies Coach Chris Reid.

“These five making the highest level fills the club and myself with pride.”

While to the average punter it may seem strange to have players from different provinces in the same club team, Coach Reid says it’s common place in the women’s game.

“It’s different to what you see for the males, a lot of girls are up here for university or work. I’ve had girls from all the provinces plying their trade for Takapuna. But we aren’t the only ones – all Auckland clubs seem to have girls from other provinces playing up here,” Reid says.

As for banter at Takapuna training this week?

“There was a little bit at training, but to be fair, women’s cricket is typically played in a kinder nature, it is very competitive but there is not as much sledging or hard edge that you see in the men’s game, it’s played in good spirit,” Reid says.

However, speaking to Ponies fast bowler Arlene Kelly, it seems there’s been a slight edge to training over on the North Shore.

“There’s always that friendly rivalry,” Kelly says.

“We joked about Roz bowling left arm at training so the girls wouldn’t have any practice against her!”

“I guess you have a bit more insight into how girls in your club side play. But in saying that, they know what they are up against also so we have to have a ‘Plan A’, B and C,” Kelly says.

With the women’s game gaining more traction on the world stage, Ponies Coach Reid says women’s cricket is at a “crucial and interesting” junction.

“It still faces challenges domestically as far as drawing attention to the game and making it attractive for the younger generation. At Takapuna, we are trying to raise the levels of awareness of women’s cricket by telling our success stories and hopefully draw a little bit more attention to the women’s cricket community,” he says.

The standard of Auckland’s club competition has certainly improved over recent times and while many of those in the Hearts and Hinds will be playing an ‘away’ game this weekend, Auckland’s club scene is only benefitting from the number of domestic cricketers playing on a weekly basis.