Cricket: Otago century due for Martin

Katey Martin
Katey Martin
If anyone deserves a century in their 100th game, it is Katey Martin.

The Otago Sparks and White Ferns wicketkeeper-batsman packed up and moved north to Christchurch ''nine seasons'' ago but has remained loyal to her home province.

Since her debut in January 2002, she has played 99 one-day games for Otago and, weather permitting, should reach triple figures this weekend.

The Sparks play Central Districts in a twenty/20 game tomorrow and follow up with back-to-back one-day games.

''I've been playing for Otago for a long time now and, even though I've been living up in Christchurch, I've had a lot of support to get to that milestone,'' Martin said.

''I don't think I could support Canterbury in any sport but we've had a young team and have been through rebuilding.

''So for me, it is about giving back to my province. I've had a lot of support from Otago cricket in my career and just wanted to give something back and make sure that our team stays strong.''

The 28-year-old right-hander has been a stand-out performer for the Sparks, especially during the last four or five seasons.

She has scored 2054 runs at an average of 23.88, including 15 half centuries, taken 56 catches and made 47 stumpings.

She has never scored a century but got close in 2009-10, when she scored 92 against Wellington.
Martin, though, is more focused on team goals than any individual milestones.

Her highlight came two years ago, when Otago beat Canterbury by 20 runs in a one-day match and followed it up with a win against the same opponent in the twenty/20 match the next day.

''That was the first time we had beaten them in about 10 years, I think, so that was a real highlight.
The biggest highlight for me is always beating the top teams and those wins over Canterbury were right up there.''

Martin rates New Zealand and Northern Districts medium pace bowler Nicola Browne as her toughest opponent.

''I'm short and she is tall and the bounce she gets makes her difficult to face. But generally, the Canterbury team has been really competitive and tend to really bug you. I guess that is what makes it more special beating them.''

Martin plans to keep playing for another ''two or three years'' and hopes to help bring through some of the younger players.

Sixteen-year-old Polly Inglis demonstrated her potential with a fine knock of 41 against Canterbury last weekend and is one player worth watching.

The Sparks have been more competitive this season, under the leadership of former New Zealand coach and player Warren Lees.

They have had one win from two games in the twenty/20 tournament and have one win from four games in the one-day tournament, upsetting Canterbury in the first of two one-day games last weekend.

''We're scoring more runs this season and more players are making greater contributions this year.
I think we have a real chance in the twenty/20 tournament,'' Martin said.

''We've got a balanced bowling attack and a strong, aggressive batting line-up so I think we can definitely target the twenty/20s. We are not out of the one-day competition just yet, either.''