The Spotlight Reporting Wellington Blaze have added four new players to their contract list as Monique Rees and Gemma Sims join from the Central Hinds, while Hannah Francis and Phoenix Williams have been awarded their first professional contracts with the club.
Dee Doughty, Maneka Singh, and Olivia Boivin join Thamsyn Newton as those from the 2022/23 list who have not received new contracts. Doughty and Singh will be available for selection, while Olivia Boivin will focus on her professional career in law, and Newton will play for the Central Hinds.
Head Coach Lance Dry was buoyed by the new additions to the group.
“We’re moving in a very positive direction as a unit. Being able to add Monique and Gemma from CD as well as bringing up Hannah and Phoenix to the contract list will ensure we continue to have the players to compete at a very high level”, said Dry.
Making the move from the Central Hinds, Rees is a bowling allrounder who bowls very effective medium pace, averaging 22.5 in one-day cricket and 25 in the Dream11 Super Smash.
The 22-year-old will provide a good pace option to complement a Blaze side that has a plethora of spin options, joining Jess Kerr and Tash Codyre in the pace attack.
“Monique is a player we’re excited to have this season”, said Head Coach Lance Dry.
“She provides a lot of value with her bowling and a lot of skill with the bat as well, we think she will be a strong option for us going forward”.
Francis has been awarded her first professional contract on the back of a very good 2022/23 summer which saw her make her Spotlight Reporting Wellington Blaze debut late in the season.
A product of the Cricket Wellington Pathways system, Francis is a promising young allrounder who has shown skill on both sides of the ball, making runs and taking wickets for various representative teams, with notable performances for the National Champion Wellington U19 Girls team and more recently with the Wellington A Women.
At only 17 years old, Francis is an exciting prospect for the Blaze, and her first contract is testament to her ability and work ethic.
Williams also gains her first professional contract after making a cricketing comeback that has seen her propelled back to the representative level of the womens’ game.
Since playing for the Wellington U21 Women side in 2018/19, Williams had been away from the game with the birth of a child. She played men’s club cricket alongside indoor cricket for Wellington en-route to returning to the high-performance setup.
A bowler that can bat, Williams looks to bring her game to the domestic scene, showcasing her potential on a bigger stage.
“We’re very happy to have Phoenix in the mix with us this year”, said Dry.
“She is a versatile cricketer and bowls aggressive medium pace. Along with the additions of Monique and Hannah, we’re in good shape with our seam bowlers and Phoenix will be a contributor in that space”.
Sims joins Monique Rees in making the move from the Central Hinds, having made seven appearances over T20 and List A cricket between 2020-2022.
A middle-order bat and wicketkeeper, Sims will add more depth to a Blaze squad which also boasts Jess McFadyen and Antonia Hamilton as options behind the stumps. The 22-year-old from the Wairarapa earned the 13th and final Blaze contract for 2022/23, bringing her into the Wellington system for the upcoming summer.
Jess McFadyen also rejoins the Blaze contract list for 2023/24, having been on a White Ferns contract last season.
The Wellington Blaze will also have four WHITE FERNS contracted players at their disposal when not on International Journey, with Melie Kerr, Jess Kerr, Georgia Plimmer, and Sophie Devine having received international contracts earlier in the year.
The Contracted Spotlight Reporting Wellington Blaze players are:
Blaze Players with 2023/24 WHITE FERNS contracts are:
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