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Ocean makes waves on debut

Ocean Bartlett needed less than two overs to make an impact in her Hallyburton Johnstone Shield [HBJ] debut for the Central Hinds in their six-wicket win over Northern Districts [ND] on Saturday.

The Wairarapa Korus all-rounder fielded the ball at mid-wicket, and her pinpoint throw to bowler Claudia Green resulted in the run out of Holly Topp. Her introduction to the bowling crease in the 16th over also brought instant reward, with the dismissal of Eve Wolland caught in the deep by Jess Watkin for 22, leaving ND reeling at 59-7.

Bartlett then dismissed Carol Agafili [27] and Charlotte Sarsfield [0] to wrap up the innings, as ND were dismissed for 99 on a Seddon Park, Hamilton pitch that provided plenty of assistance for the leg-spinner.

“It was turning quite a bit, so I guess it was the perfect wicket for my debut,” a thrilled Bartlett said.

“Leg spin is pretty hit or miss bowling, like you either get smashed or it just comes off, and that game, it just came off really well. My first ball was good, so I guess I built pressure from the start and managed to get my first wicket with my second ball, which I was pretty stoked with, and yeah, towards the end of the innings, we had a fielder nice and close, and that gave me good confidence just to keep bowling in my areas, and I picked up the last wicket.”

Bartlett said the dominant win was a good boost for the Hinds, after a disappointing Super Smash T20 campaign, in which they won only one game and finished last of the six teams.

“They didn’t really get away, and we had a pretty good bowling and fielding performance, which was good, and it gave me an opportunity to have a bowl, and I think I bowled the most overs out of everyone.”

Bartlett’s HBJ debut came two years and 16 games after she made her Super Smash debut and followed a strong performance for the Korus when she scored an unbeaten 49 and claimed two wickets for 11 runs in the 106-run victory over Taranaki in the Mike Shrimpton Trophy.

“It was a long time coming for my HBJ debut, but my coach Jamie Watkin said for me to debut, I needed to be getting a few more runs, and I did that in my Korus game leading up to it, so it was nice to get that opportunity.”

The elevation to the highest women’s domestic competition caps a good season for Bartlett, who toured India with the NZ Development Team, captaining the side in two wins over the West Indies; however, the Indians were a different proposition, with the side losing all five games.

“It was definitely challenging conditions over there, and it was harder than I thought it would be,” she said.

“India is definitely a good side, especially playing in their home conditions. They really dominated, but it was a really good experience for the New Zealand girls just seeing what the standard is like over there and testing out the conditions because I think none of us were really prepared for it.

“Our spinners bowl a bit quicker than the spinners over there. The way they really turn the ball, they bowl a bit slower, and I thought that was a lot more challenging to face.”

India used the series as preparation for last month’s Under-19 Women’s World Cup in South Africa, which they won comfortably, a result that did not surprise Bartlett given the resources available on the sub-continent.

“A lot of the girls stop going to school in, like, year 10 and just focus on cricket, and cricket is their full-time job. It’s pretty hard to compete against that, and a lot of money goes into cricket over there.”

Bartlett has had no indication of her possible selection for the next round of the HBJ against Canterbury at Hagley Oval, Christchurch, on February 18.

In the meantime, she will concentrate on her return to university studies and playing club cricket with her Sydenham team.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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