Heffernan picks Steel — for now

Kate Heffernan will miss the Otago Sparks’ one-day campaign to focus on the Southern Steel pre...
Kate Heffernan will miss the Otago Sparks’ one-day campaign to focus on the Southern Steel pre-season. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Had timing been different, Kate Heffernan would be running into the bowling crease today.

Instead she will take a seat on the sideline when the Otago Sparks play the Auckland Diamonds at the University of Otago Oval.

A well-deserved seat though, it must be said.

She has decided to make herself unavailable for the Sparks’ one-day campaign.

Combining  cricket with netball has always been a juggling act for the 19-year-old and her twin sister,  Georgia.

Until now, both have fitted with each other.

However, as next year’s ANZ Premiership has an earlier start in February, the Southern Steel has has an earlier start to its pre-season.

Having impressed after being brought into the side halfway through last season, Heffernan has become a fully contracted player for the first time.

Given the Steel trains Monday to Friday and the Sparks’ one-day games fell on the weekends, something had to give.

"When I mapped it all out I was like ‘I don’t really have a rest day for a long time’," she said.

"Then I thought about turning up to both half sort of not all there — I wouldn’t get the most out of either.

"So I thought I really want to take the opportunities netball’s given to me now and make the most of them."

She will return for the Sparks’ twenty20 games.

They mostly fall when the Steel is on its Christmas break, while it is also her favourite cricket format.

She is missing cricket, but is happy with her decision.Her sister though — a training partner with the Steel — is doing her best to make them both work.It had been a while since her last day off, garnering a somewhat sympathetic response from Kate.

"Poor thing, I feel for her," she said with a slight laugh.

Both have shown tremendous talent in the two sports.

Kate, a left-arm bowler and midcourter, has played for the White Ferns and the New Zealand A netball team.

Georgia has been on the fringe of the Steel shooting line-up this year, while also featuring in the Sparks the past two seasons.

Choosing one or the other has always been something they have avoided — although that time may be drawing closer.

"Definitely now it’s getting more like ‘maybe I will have to make the decision soon’," Kate said.

"At the moment netball probably is a little bit higher. I really want to work hard with netball.

"Maybe eventually [I’ll choose one]. It just depends on how the seasons go.

"But cricket I still want to keep in the picture.

"Even if sometime I have a break from one of the sports for a season or two, I’m always going to plan on coming back.

"It’s not just that’s it and that’s the end.

"I love both of them, I’ll try keep them both going as long as I can."

She is enjoying the Steel pre-season and has gained plenty of confidence from this year’s experience.

She is based in Invercargill until February, when she returns to Dunedin to start university.

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