In a move reminiscent of the movie "Field of dreams" Northern Districts Cricket have developed an "If you build it they will come" mantra for their new women's competition that has already attracted top New Zealand players from outside the region such as WHITE FERNS player, Sara McGlashan.
An internal review was the starting point for Northern Districts Cricket when they decided to look at ways of improving results from their senior female representatives. The Northern Spirit has struggled in recent times to win games, much in part to teenage girls leaving cricket in favour of other sports and, apart from an elite group of a few, it was hard for females to experience regular quality cricket.
One of the recommendations of the review was to introduce a competition to replace the existing senior District Association competition. Northern Districts asked their players and other key stakeholders what they would like to see in a female cricket competition, and the Northern Premier League (NPL) emerged from those discussions.
In a new move for cricket in New Zealand, the NPL will consist of four non-regional teams which will compete across six Sundays during the cricket season. The four teams will be selected to ensure the talent is spread as evenly as possible to ensure competitive matches.
Peter Roach, CEO of Northern Districts Cricket says providing a quality cricket experience is essential to the success of the competition.
"Every game of the NPL will be an event in its own right. We have come up with four new team names, designed new uniforms, and will provide quality grounds, quality umpires, coaches, managers and scorers. These will all be in place for the sole purpose to expose our players to quality competition to develop their games."
Northern Districts commissioned PANMedia to design the team names and branding with the aim to appeal to a younger female audience. Power, Sonic, Velocity and Galaxy were developed alongside bright, bold logos and playing kits.
In another big coup, SKYCITY Hamilton have come on board as the naming rights sponsor for the competition. "A real competition needs a real sponsor and it is terrific that our relationship with SKYCITY Hamilton continues now with the NPL." Said Roach.
Mr Roach says the efforts put into designing the SKYCITY Hamilton NPL competition have paid off in attracting quality players, coaches and managers.
"We have received the backing from our own elite and emerging players and have also extended our reach outside of the Northern Districts pool and are delighted to have secured quality players such as McGlashan. And there will be more to follow."
McGlashan, one of the best female players in the world who has recently returned to New Zealand after playing in England, jumped at the opportunity to play in the SKYCITY Hamilton NPL, saying: "The competition is a great opportunity to play quality cricket and also a chance to try and help raise the profile of women's cricket in New Zealand.
"I've been lucky enough to play in Australia's Big Bash and England's Super League so it's exciting there is another competition to be involved in."
Roach concluded that "this is a key platform in our overall strategy to grow the number of women playing and engaging in cricket. We are serious about it, and have invested heavily to ensure that this competition quickly becomes one of the best women's sporting competitions in NZ."Captains, coaches and players will be named in September, with the first matches of the 6 round league to be held at the Bay Oval, Mt Maunganui on Sunday 30 October. Northern Districts and SKYCITY Hamilton will be holding an official launch at SKYCITY Function Centre on Sunday 16 October.