Robertson leads Sparks to shield glory

The Sparks celebrate after beating Wellington in the one-day final at the University Oval in...
The Sparks celebrate after beating Wellington in the one-day final at the University Oval in Dunedin yesterday to win the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
It has taken Felicity Robertson 15 years but she has finally helped win a national title.

The Otago captain played an instrumental role in the Sparks four-wicket win against Wellington in the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield final in Dunedin yesterday.

She featured in a 79-run stand with Caitlin Blakely as the Sparks rallied from 38 for three to overhaul Wellington’s tally of 211 for eight.

It was a game full of twists.

Wellington looked on track for a much bigger tally until Emma Black secured a double breakthrough midway through their innings.

But half-centuries from Jess McFadyen (64) and Jess Kerr (56) got the visitors through to score somewhere around par.

Xara Jetly (three for 29) captured the big wicket of Suzie Bates and Leigh Kasperek broke the partnership of Blakely (50) and Robertson (38).

But Olivia Gain (42) and Polly Inglis (35 not out) put on 67 from 63 balls for the sixth-wicket to help seal the win.

It was sweet moment for Robertson, who scored 124 for Northern Districts in 2019-20 final only to lose to Auckland.

"It was a fantastic day for our girls," she said.

"Everyone stepped up and obviously a turning point for the match was those three wickets in that one over from Black.

"It was little moments like that. And Olivia Gain came in and whacked it from ball one.

"It has taken me nearly 15 years [to win a title] and this is just my second final. I’m really happy."

The Sparks dictated terms early.

Hayley Jensen (one for 28) got the ball to tail away from Rebecca Burns and just hold its line off the deck.

Burns tried to crash it through the covers but had her off stump knocked out of the ground. Bowled for 10.

Fellow opener McFadyen teamed up with Caitlin King (19) in a 51-run stand for the third wicket to wrestle some momentum back.

The Sparks needed a circuit-breaker and turned to Black.

Her radar deserted her initially. But short, wide deliveries down leg sometimes get wickets too.

Georgia Plimmer flicked it straight to Blakely at deep backward square.

Kasperek spooned a leading edge back to the bowler next ball and had to depart for a golden duck.

Kate Chandler survived the hat-trick, but was run out later in the over when she was caught ball watching.

The Blaze had slumped from 95 for two to 96 for five.

Kerr was dropped three times on her way to a rapid half-century. Molly Loe got thrown the ball and the 20-year-old broke the threatening 62-run partnership between Kerr and McFadyen.

McFadyen tried to loft the ball down the ground but got under it. Robertson ran back and made a comfortable catch at mid-off.

Kerr’s luck finally ran out. Robertson took a sharp caught and bowled.

It was her 100th list A scalp.

Black’s haul of three for 31 saw her equal Emma Campbell’s Otago record (24) for most wickets in a season.

Otago made a poor start to their chase. But Blakely and Robertson helped the home side slip out from underneath the suffocating pressure the Blaze were building with a calm partnership

But Wellington raised the height of the obstacle once again with a double breakthrough, leaving Inglis and Gain to hit the side to victory.

Gain stroked four fours and a six during her valuable 38 ball stay at the crease, while Inglis picked the right balls to attack as well.

It was the Sparks’ third one-day title in 10 years. They broke a 51-year drought by winning the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield in 2013-14 and won the title again in 2021-22.


R Burns b Jensen 10

J McFadyen c Robertson b Loe 64

C King c Inglis b Loe 19

G Plimmer c Blakely b Black 16

L Kasperek c&b Black 0

K Chandler run out (Carson/Inglis) 1

J Kerr c&b Robertson 56

H Francis not out 13

N Baird c&b Black 6

N Codyre not out 5

Extras (4b, 3lb, 13w, 1nb) 21

Total (8 wkts, 50 overs) 211

Fall: 1-21, 2-72, 3-95, 4-95, 5-96, 6-158, 7-192, 8-202.

Bowling: E Black 10-1-31-3 (5w), H Jensen 10-3-28-1 (3w, 1nb), E Carson 10-0-47-0, M Loe 8-0-42-2, F Robertson 9-0-43-1 (5w), S Bates 3-0-13-0.


S Bates c Kasperek b Jetly 16

S Wilson c Baird b Codyre 1

B James c King b Jetly 13

C Blakely c McFadyen b Kasperek 50

F Robertson b Jetly 38

P Inglis not out 35

O Gain b Codyre 42

H Jensen not out 9

Extras (1lb, 7w) 8

Total (6 wkts, 48.1 overs) 212

Fall: 1-12, 2-19, 3-38, 4-117, 5-124

Bowling: NE Codyre 10-0-60-2 (2w), J Kerr 10-3-21-0 (1w), X Jetly 10-0-29-3 (1w), L Kasperek 10-0-59-1 (1w), H Francis 5.1-0-22-0 (1w), N Baird 3-0-20-0.

Result: Otago won by four wickets.