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Korus duo make Maori squad

Ocean Bartlett batting for Central Districts at the national Under-19 tournament. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

CRICKET

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Two Wairarapa Korus have been selected for the inaugural New Zealand Maori schoolgirls squad.

All-rounder Ocean Bartlett and top order batter Kayarna Jones-Dennes have been named in the 12-strong squad to play against the Australian Governor-General’s XI in Wellington in two weeks.

Bartlett, a useful top or middle order bat and handy leg-spin bowler, is one of four players in the squad to have represented a major association at Under-19 level.

She played an important role in Central Districts’ win at the national championship at Lincoln near Christchurch in December.

She scored 146 runs at an average of 48.66 over the tournament, including a top score of 54 not out opening the batting in the deciding game against Auckland.

Her economical bowling netted five wickets at 23.60, with a best of 2-17 off six overs against Wellington.

Bartlett, of Ngati Porou and Nga Puhi descent, also played an integral role in St Matthew’s Collegiate finishing third at the Gillette Venus secondary schoolgirls finals, also at Lincoln in December.

Kayarna Jones-Dennes.

Wairarapa College student Jones-Dennes has been a consistent performer for the Wairarapa Korus and Wairarapa Under-18 side.

A solid top or middle order batter, Jones-Dennes’ best return of the season has been 50 retired against Hawke’s Bay at the lower North Island Under-18 tournament in January. She is of Ngati Kahungunu descent.

Wairarapa Korus coach Simon Roseingrave holds both players in high regard and said both were showing immense promise.

“Ocean’s figures speak for themselves. She was outstanding in helping CD win the Under-19 tournament with a half century in the final against Auckland,” he said.

“Kayarna has a massive amount of potential. She has a natural ability that you don’t see in many cricketers, is probably our best runner between the wickets, and she just looks the goods.

“I’m picking that we’ll begin to see her natural talent come through in the next year or so.”

The team will be coached by former White Ferns captain Maia Lewis, who played nine tests and 78 one-day internationals for New Zealand.

Players from the schoolgirls’ and schoolboys’ teams will assemble in Wellington on February 18 and will stay at the Pipitea Marae for the remainder of the week.

The games will be played at Karori Park on February 20, with the schoolgirls’ side playing two T20 matches, starting at 10.30am and 3pm.

Former Black Caps wicketkeeper Adam Parore will mentor both teams and will be present at the capping ceremony at Pipitea Marae on February 19.

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