White Ferns chasing fine weather for Cup preparations

Lynn McConnell

October 17, 2000

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Bad weather in Christchurch over the last two weekends has resulted in the New Zealand women's cricket team looking to Hawke's Bay in order to get a game this weekend.

The CLEAR White Ferns had intended to play three games on successive weekends against a Canterbury President's XI team in Christchurch. However, only the first game could be played.

The women's squad were being flown into Christchurch each weekend for the games, however, the weather was so bad in advance of the matches New Zealand Cricket was able to call the games off well before they were due to be played.

More rain is expected in Christchurch this week so plans are being made to have the New Zealand women play in either Napier or Hastings this weekend.

White Ferns coach Mike Shrimpton said the main concern was getting outside from the indoor facilities the side has been confined to in its winter preparation.

At the moment it is intended the side will play a game on Sunday in Hawke's Bay and practice outside on Monday.

The situation is compounded, however, by the fact that Monday is Labour Day, a public holiday, which is the traditional start of New Zealand's summer season. That means club cricket is being played on Saturday and Monday in Hawke's Bay, minimising the opportunities for the women's team to get adequate facilities.

However, Shrimpton is confident a ground will be available in Napier at Nelson Park and failing that a ground should be available at Cornwall Park in Hastings which is a few miles away.

"It is desperately important to get outside and on grass," he said.

"We are reducing our squad from 18 to 14 for the CricInfo Women's World Cup and we need to give those players who are marginal the best opportunity to exhibit their skills and to press for inclusion.

"It would be hard on them after all the work they have put in if they are not given that chance. We have to do something for them," he said.

By taking the national team to Hawke's Bay, it would also be a chance to promote the women's game in the area.

The lost games have not been a complete washout for the side. Shrimpton has spent time on other cricket business in Auckland and Wellington recently and has taken the opportunity to meet with players.

"I'm satisfied that we have had a good campaign of preparation for the tournament and have made the most of a physiology programme that has been drawn up.

"We've worked hard on skills, strategy and tactics.

"We have also had the aim of professionalising the sport and we have been able to ensure serious competition for places in the side," he said.

Two trial matches are still scheduled for Christchurch's Lincoln Green on October 28-29.

The New Zealand team is to be named on Tuesday, October 31.

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