The Otago Sparks will play full competition games in Oamaru for the first time this weekend with the aim of getting their domestic one-day and twenty20 campaigns back on track.
The Sparks play the Central Hinds in a twenty20 game at Centennial Park from 4pm today.
They then play the same opposition in two Hallyburton Johnstone Shield one-day games on Saturday and Sunday from 11am.
The Sparks are fourth in the one-day standings and fifth on the twenty20 ladder, while the Hinds are propping up the table in both of the six-team competitions.
Otago Sparks coach Nathan King said the 12-strong squad was excited to be playing for competition points in Oamaru.
“It’s a home game for us. I don’t think the girls have ever played a game in Oamaru, so it’s an opportunity to play at home, so that’s very exciting.”
King hoped to gain some momentum after indifferent campaigns so far.
The Sparks have won three of eight games in the one-day competition and one of four in the shorter format, with one game in each competition abandoned.
“I would be lying if I said it was fantastic,” he said of the Sparks’ one-day campaign.
“We started off slowly and came up against a good Wellington team and were on the wrong side of the ledger there. We turned that around against Northern [Spirit] and then against Canterbury we had one game rained off and lost the last one.”
King said the Sparks were still “right in the hunt” in the twenty20 competition and was confident of picking up a win on Friday, which he hoped would lead to success over the weekend.
“We’re confident playing against any team and it comes down to our key players doing really good jobs and them being supported by our other players.”
One player who will not feature is 17-year-old Amber Cunningham.
The St Kevin’s College pupil made her one-day debut for the Sparks in their eight-run win over the Wellington Blaze at the University Oval in Dunedin on December 3, and was run out for one batting at No9.
King said Cunningham’s form for Otago at the recent national women’s under-21 tournament was not enough to gain her a recall to the top side.
“She didn’t have the best tournament and that’s part of the reason she is not in the squad at the moment.”