The list of contracted players for the women’s Northern Districts (ND) team reveals a classy lineup with four new faces making the list, strengthening a fast-developing squad.

Powerhouse batter and right-arm off-spin bowler Jess Watkin joins ND, bringing valuable leadership experience having captained the Central Hinds. Watkin, who was called up for the WHITE FERNS in 2018 and has played six one-day internationals and nine T20 internationals, won’t be far off further international call ups.

Eve Wolland is in the contract mix for the first time this season, having made her domestic debut with ND last season in both the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield (HBJ) and Super Smash competitions.

Tash Wakelin is the third new name on the contract list. She and teammate Kayley Knight were selected to represent New Zealand (NZ) in the u19 Women’s World Cup, with Wakelin being the top wicket-taker for NZ during the tournament.

Yaz Kareem also makes the contract list for the first time. Having broken her finger on debut for ND in November 2022, the all-rounder spent most of last season in recovery but is back and has shown great form in off-season training.

There is no shortage of familiar faces in the contract list. ND’s Hallyburton Johnstone Shield One Day Player of the Year, Caitlin Gurrey, is back after a cracker 22-23 season including a New Zealand domestic List A record knock of 183 in the HBJ one-day competition against the Central Hinds. She also brought up her 2000th List A run last season and was named ND’s HBJ Player of the Year.

All-rounder Nensi Patel is another one to watch for this season, with her heroic fielding efforts entertaining spectators and commentators alike. Excellent performances in all areas of the game earned her honours at the ND 22-23 awards night, named Dream11 Super Smash Female T20 Player of the Year and Nicola Browne Medal Female Player of the Year.

WHITE FERNS contracted player and comeback story of the 22-23 season, Bernadine Bezuidenhout, also calls ND home for any domestic fixtures she’s available for. The wicketkeeper-batter was recalled to the WHITE FERNS earlier this year, selected for February’s T20 World Cup in her birth country of South Africa. Bezuidenhout’s return to the WHITE FERNS after two years away from the sport, while recovering from RED-S (Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport), was a special moment. ND will host the WHITE FERNS at Seddon Park in April for two ODI fixtures when England tour New Zealand, and no doubt there will be many ND supporters cheering on Bezuidenhout from the embankment.

Key ND player, Eimear Richardson, is absent from the Northern Districts contract list due to international contract commitments with Ireland but she will still be an integral part of the playing group for the season.

Newly minted ND women’s Head Coach Peter Borren is delighted with the squad and new talent coming through the ranks. “We have some experienced senior players and some super talented youngsters on our contract list” he said.

“Getting Jess Watkin to ND is a massive boost. She is clearly a gun player and person. I look forward to her contributions on and off the field.

Also excited to work with Tash Wakelin, Eve Wolland and Yaz Kareem, three young stars in the making. Congratulations to them on gaining their first contracts.”

General Manager Performance & Talent at ND, Ian Sandbrook, is pleased with the balance of the contract list, saying, “We are really pleased with the first-round contract list we have managed to assemble for the coming season. We believe we’ve got an excellent balance between high quality players that are proven on the domestic circuit or pushing for WHITE FERNS honours, and the promotion and development of our outstanding young talent coming through the system.

The balance of skill sets across our squad has also been a key focus and we believe we have landed on an excellent mix for Head Coach Peter Borren to mould into a really competitive unit.”

Northern Districts Women

Contracted Players 2023-24

  • Carol Agafili
  • Sam Barriball
  • Lucy Boucher
  • Marama Downes
  • Caitlin Gurrey
  • Yaz Kareem*
  • Kayley Knight
  • Shriya Naidu
  • Nensi Patel
  • Holly Topp
  • Tash Wakelin*
  • Jess Watkin**
  • Eve Wolland*

* First-time contracted player

** New player to Northern Districts

WHITE FERNS Contracted Player

WHITE FERNS contracted player who also plays for Northern Districts when available.

  • Bernadine Bezuidenhout