Sparks rookie Polly Inglis: "I want to play for New Zealand
and represent my country but it is the same with hockey as
well." Photo by Linda Robertson.
Polly Inglis seems destined to shine on the sporting
stage - but whether it is in cricket, hockey or football is not
The talented 16-year-old has represented Otago at age-group
level in hockey and football, and is in her rookie season
with the Otago Sparks.
She made her debut on Friday in a twenty/20 fixture against
Auckland in Invercargill. The right-hander did not get a
chance to bat as Katey Martin and Suzie Bates made light work
of the run chase.
In the following one-day matches, she batted at No6 and
scored 7 and 14 - a promising rather than hugely successful
debut, you might say. However, coach Warren Lees and
team-mate Sarah Tsukigawa rate the youngster highly.
They believe the teenager has the raw talent, drive and
pedigree to succeed. The only problem is, she is a handy
hockey and football player as well.
Her older brother, Hugo Inglis (21), is a striker for the
Black Sticks and Polly is keen to follow in his footsteps.
Hockey is her favourite sport but she enjoyed her debut for
"It is lots of fun and the team culture is real good, so
that's cool," she said.
"The leadership team was really helpful and made it easy to
Polly roomed with White Ferns and Sparks captain Suzie Bates
for the Invercargill trip but said she had not had a chance
to ask the dual cricket and basketball international how she
had managed to balance both sports for so long.
Bates agreed to put basketball on hold when she accepted the
New Zealand captaincy in December last year but up until then
had split her time between the codes.
"I want to play for New Zealand and represent my country but
it is the same with hockey as well," Inglis said.
Hugo is an obvious inspiration but "Suzie is a big role
model" as well.
"With her being a double international, I look up to her
heaps. It is what I want to do."
Polly got her start in cricket playing against brothers Hugo
and Henry (24) in the family backyard. There was a proper
strip and everything, and the long narrow yard rewarded the
fledgling cricketers for playing nice and straight.
Polly complained she did not get to bat first very often and
was mostly used as an extra fieldsman while her brothers
battled. But those backyard games captured her imagination.
She starting playing organised cricket as a 7-year-old
against the boys, and now opens the batting and keeps wicket
for St Hilda's Collegiate.
The Sparks play Canterbury in a twenty/20 game this afternoon
and in back-to-back one-day games on Saturday and Sunday.
The team had a good win against Auckland in its opening
twenty/20 match on Friday but lost the two following
Canterbury shapes as a tough opponent but, just quietly, the
Sparks have high hopes this season.
"Warren, our coach, has said that we will be there for the
final weekend. He's booked that in, so hopefully we'll be