Watherston to make first-class debut

Olive Watherston. Photo: Mountain Scene (file)
Olive Watherston. Photo: Mountain Scene (file)
Otago Spirit coach Scott Manson has replaced one exciting teenager with another.

Rising star Olive Watherston has been named in the Otago Spirit team for its game against the Bay of Plenty Volcanix in Mount Maunganui tomorrow afternoon.

The Wakatipu High School 17-year-old will be making her first-class debut and gets the opportunity after a rotten slice of luck for another immensely promising young player.

Spirit rookie outside back Oceana Campbell fell awkwardly while making her way down the embankment at Bishopscourt on Sunday and broke her leg.

It is a devastating blow for the 17-year-old Otago Girls’ High School pupil. She was potentially in the running for higher honours at age group level, Manson said.

Spirit coach Scott Manson. Photo: Getty Images
Spirit coach Scott Manson. Photo: Getty Images
"Still, there are plenty of years ahead for her. But at the moment, in the now, she is finding it pretty tough," Manson said.

Tomorrow’s game will mark six weeks since the Spirit last played.

The team had a bye the weekend before the country went into lockdown.

Tegan Hollows and Greer Muir will lead as co-captains.

Amber McKenzie and Gemma Millar are unavailable through injury, and experienced back Sheree Hume will also miss the game to have hip surgery.

She booked in the operation for what she thought would be the end of the season.

However, the break for Covid-19 led to the playing window being extended.

Neither the Spirit nor the Volcanix has posted a win during the campaign, so the game is an important one in the context of their seasons.

The winner may well avoid relegation from the Premiership, while the loser looks set to drop to the second-tier Championship.

Otago Spirit team

Olive Watherston, Keely Hill, Teilah Ferguson, Kilisitina Moata’ane, Daimzel Rongokea, Cheyenne Cunningham,  Maia Joseph, Greer Muir (co-captain), Leah Miles, Maddie Feaunati, Julia Gorinski, Morgan Henderson, Paige Church, Tegan Hollows (co-captain), Isla Pringle. Reserves: Grace Carroll, Lucy Cahill, Rebekah Wairau, Ella Gomez, Chaz Tumu-Makara, Nicole Kennedy, Lauren Sa’u, Jamie Church.

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