Six changes to Sparks for new season

Hayley Jensen
Hayley Jensen
The Otago Sparks will have a fresh look this season.

The squad was announced yesterday and it features six changes.

White Ferns all-rounder Hayley Jensen is the big signing. She replaces fellow White Fern Leigh Kasperek, who has transferred to Wellington after a six-year stint with the Sparks.

Eden Carson and Molly Loe will join fellow St Hilda's Collegiate pupils Emma Black and Olivia Gain in the squad.

They were on the fringe of the side last summer but have earned promotion.

Strike bowler Georgia Clarke returns from injury and newbies Bhagya Herath and Olivia West join the squad.

Bhagya is a talented left-arm spin bowler who is a student at the University of Otago. She has played age-group representative cricket for Northern Districts in the past and will be a valuable addition.

West played for the Otago under-21 side last season and is a former captain of the Palmerston North High School First XI.

Twins Georgia and Kate Heffernan have signed with the Southern Steel in the ANZ Premiership and are missing from the Sparks squad.

Kate has played for the White Ferns and the left-armer will be sorely missed.

Batsman Polly Inglis is in the United Kingdom and is not returning this season, while Megan Gibbs has retired.

The squad includes world-class players Katey Martin and Suzie Bates, dual hockey and cricket representative Millie Cowan, and experienced campaigners Caitlin Blakely and Bella James.

The Sparks season gets under way with back-to-back one-day games against Central Districts in Levin on November 15-16.

Sparks coach Nathan King could not be reached for comment.

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