Under-21s ready to face the country on home ground

The Auckland Women’s Under-21 team is prepped and ready for their national tournament at Lloyd Elsmore Park starting tomorrow. They’ll be taking on the five other associations on home turf in 50-over matches, from 15-21 December.

The squad has plenty of experience, with the majority having played for the team in previous years.

There are also five members of the Auckland Hearts squad in the mix, making the team an exciting one to watch.

Still, there’s room for a couple of new faces in the squad.

Assistant coach Anna Peterson says the two debutants provide a boost to the team.

“Radhika Patel has earned her spot after putting in some good club performances with the bat for Howick Pakuranga.”

“She was also a stand-in player for Wellington last year, and she’s worked her way through other age-group teams.”

The other rookie is 14-year-old spin bowler Fran Jonas.

“Fran is the leading wicket-taker in the Prichard Cup,” says Peterson, “And she’s shown her work ethic and talent in the Developing Future Hearts Programme this year.”

Jonas’s left-arm orthodox spin will round out the U21s bowling attack which also boasts four Auckland Hearts seam bowlers.

The Women’s U21 Tournament has been a two-team tussle in recent years, with Auckland and Central Districts trading off for the last four seasons. Last season’s title went to CD, so Auckland will be hoping the trend continues.

Auckland Women’s Under-21 team plays their first match against Canterbury at 10:00am tomorrow at Lloyd Elsmore Park.

Auckland Women’s Under-21 Squad:

Bella Armstrong – Cornwall
Skye Bowden – Howick Pakuranga
Sydney Bultitude – Takapuna
Amie Hucker – Cornwall
Fran Jonas – Cornwall
Yazmeen Kareem – Parnell
Tariel Lamb – Cornwall
Radhika Patel – Howick Pakuranga
Josie Penfold – Howick Pakuranga
Jesse Prasad – Auckland University
Saachi Shahri – Cornwall
Natasha van Tilburg – Howick Pakuranga

Coach: Chris Reid