by Laurie Willetts
Lincoln University’s Bert Sutcliffe Oval turned out to be the perfect pitch to host the first round of the Burger King Super Smash Women’s T20 cricket series.
The fast and furious format of the T20 delivered some scintillating matches helped by an oval, which has consistently been a venue for big scores at first-class level.
Even better for local cricket supporters, the Canterbury Magicians got away to a perfect series start, racing to the top of the ladder after dropping only one game in the opening round.
Magician’s coach Ben Rapson said his team was delighted with the win.
“It was great to have a win in front of a home crowd. There was a big buzz around the ground, which was awesome, and it was great to see the locals turn up to support the team,” he said.
Twelve teams competed in the tournament, but there was no doubt the crowd favourite was the Magicians who ground-out some hard-fought wins to lead by a point differential at the end of the four-day round.
If the Magicians were the stars of the show, they would have to share that stardom with the Bert Sutcliffe Oval, which is fast becoming a home ground for the Magicians and women’s cricket in general.
The oval, named after the legendary New Zealand opening batsman Bert Sutcliffe, who was stationed for a time just up the road at Burnham Military Camp before serving overseas during World War II, has hosted Women’s World Cup semi-finals and finals.
It is now firmly on the map as one of New Zealand’s leading cricket venues.