Black eager to maintain momentum for Sparks

Otago swing bowler Emma Black gets in some training at Logan Park earlier this week. PHOTO: PETER...
Otago swing bowler Emma Black gets in some training at Logan Park earlier this week. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Game day is almost a relief for Otago strike bowler Emma Black.

The 20-year-old gets a thorough workout in the nets bowling to the likes of Suzie Bates, Katey Martin and Hayley Jensen.

The White Ferns trio can all thump the ball and the margin of error is slim for the bowler.

Over-toss and you had better remember to duck because chances are the ball will be sent speeding back towards you.

Is there a better way to learn than that? It certainly builds resilience, and Black is showing all the signs of someone who has been hardened by the challenge.

The right-armer claimed her maiden five-wicket bag in the opening game of the
Hallyburton Johnstone Shield.

She tore through the Central Hinds line-up, capturing five for 28 from an impressive seven-over spell.

Black will get another opportunity to get among the Hinds batting line-up tomorrow.

The Sparks are hosting them in their opening Super Smash game.

The one-day competition will resume in February.

The Sparks have won three of their four games and lead the one-day standings.

They will be hoping to take that impressive form into the T20 format.

Black, who is in her fourth season with the the team, shapes as a key player in the bowling line-up.

She will bowl in the powerplay and look to strike early. And there is nothing like winning a few games to get your confidence up.

The Sparks lost 21 one-day games in a row before Black helped dispatch the Hinds with her "five-for".

"We’re winning games which is very exciting," she chuckled.

"It makes a change.

"It shows that we have the ability. We have been young, so we’ve come along way. It takes time and experience."

The University of Otago arts student said it was nice to get some reward for all the hard work which goes into training and preparing for games.

She has been thrilled with her progress this season but the challenge now was to find a way to make an impact in four overs rather than 10. And also to not get hit to or over the rope too many times.

"It is probably about introducing a lot more variations and restricting the batters as much as you can.

"You also have to accept that you are going to get hit for a few more runs as well.

The Hinds team was unavailable but the Sparks have named a predictable line-up for the match.

Kate Ebrahim has added some steel to the side this season with her uncompromising competitive spirit, while star batsman Bates got back into some good form in her last outing.

She was sidelined with a shoulder injury last season but scored 62 against a quality Canterbury outfit at Hagley Oval on the weekend.

Jensen swatted 76 from 73 in her last innings as well, while Katey Martin is at the top of her game.

She has scored 240 runs this season without being dismissed and will present a major threat for the Hinds bowling line-up.


Super Smash

Dunedin, tomorrow, 10.10am
Otago Sparks: Suzie Bates (captain), Kate Ebrahim, Katey Martin, Hayley Jensen, Caitlin Blakely, Polly Inglis, Bella James, Eden Carson, Emma Black, Molly Loe, Sophie Oldershaw, Marina Lamplough.
Central Hinds (possible): Natalie Dodd, Emily Cunningham, Jess Watkin, Kerry-Anne Tomlinson, Hannah Rowe, Gemma Sims, Mikaela Greig, Georgia Atkinson, Monique Rees, Melissa Hansen, Ashtuti Kumar,  Cate Pedersen.



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