Auckland Hearts A victorious in debut match

Last Sunday saw the very first match for the Auckland Hearts A side, playing against Northern Spirit A – another newly assembled team from Northern Districts.

The creation of a Hearts A side is an exciting development for women’s cricket.

The side offers a steeping-stone for players between club or school cricket and higher honours. There are few chances to play against teams from other Major Associations once players are past age group tournaments.

With the number of women playing cricket on the increase, there is a need to give players more opportunities. Talented cricketers are often skilled at a number of sports, and the incentive for female players to focus on cricket has been lacking below the top level.

In their debut match, Auckland Hearts A were asked to bat first against Northern Spirit A at Cornwall Park. The deck was particularly green, but Hearts A saw off the opening bowlers, reaching 68/0.

The Northern Districts spinners were impressive and after losing their first wicket, Hearts A struggled to make a lot of ground against them.

With this lack of runs came an inevitable pressure, and Hearts A were bowled out for 125 in the 33rd over.

However, on a the very green deck Auckland was confident that their seamers Claire Mains and Emma Fulbrook would be able to make quick inroads to defend this total.

Mains started extremely well, achieving two wicket-maidens in her first two overs, which put Spirit A immediately on the back foot.

From there Northern Districts were unable to recover. After reducing Spirit A to 33/6, Hearts A bowled out the opposition for just 47 in the 27th over. They won by a comprehensive 78 runs.

Mains bowled five overs, snaring two wickets for four runs. Yaz Kareem picked up 2-1 off four, and Sydney Bultitude finished with figures of 2-0 off five balls.

This is a great start for Auckland Hearts A. As other Major Associations come on-board with the concept of a women’s A team, they can expect plenty of challenges in future.

Auckland Hearts A squad v Northern Spirit A

Josie Penfold (Captain, Howick Pakuranga)
Gemma Adams (Cornwall)
Anna Browning (North Shore)
Sydney Bultitude (Takapuna)
Emma Fulbrook (Cornwall)
Izzy Gaze (Takapuna)
Lauren Heaps (Takapuna)
Yazeem Kareem (Parnell)
Clare Mains (Takapuna)
Radhika Patel (Howick Pakuranga)
Sam Petherick (North Shore)
Francesca Wilkinson (Cornwall)