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New Coach In Store For Central Hinds

Jamie Watkins. Photo credit: Margot Butcher / CDCA

Both the Central Stags and Central Hinds cricket teams will have a fresh Head Coach at the helm next summer following the announcement today that Jamie Watkin is stepping down from the Hinds role ahead of the 2023/24 Domestic cricket season.

Taranaki-based Watkins will remain closely connected to the women’s game in Central Districts as he will be continuing in his twin role as CDCA’s Female Performance and Pathways Coach — growing the systems and support for the next generations of Hinds representatives right across CD.

It’s a role he has juggled with his Hinds Head Coach duties over the past two years. Today’s announcement allows Watkins to now focus on the overall development of the women’s game in Central Districts.

Watkins has been the Hinds’ mentor since 2017, and guided a young team to a memorable Hallyburton Johnstone Shield national title in 2019 when they beat a strong Auckland Hearts contingent in a home Final at Pukekura Park.

He says now it’s the right time for the players to listen to a new voice in the changing rooms.

“It’s been a really cool period. We’ve had a lot of success in 50-over cricket, and won close to 70 per cent of our Hallyburton Johnstone Shield games over the past four years.

“The disappointing side of it has been the Dream11 Super Smash T20s where we haven’t achieved what we had set out to do. That’s the only aspect that leaves me feeling a little bit unfulfilled from the Head Coach role, but everything else leaves me feeling pretty proud with the shape the team is in.”

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He thinks back to his first assignment as the team coach and recalls that the 16 women — some of them still at school — who gathered together for that preseason camp in Levin “were practically every player from the whole of CD that we could muster and look at.

We only had the equivalent of two and a half Shrimpton Trophy [CD women’s inter-provincial] teams operating at the time, and a lot of players were young and had only been playing for one or two years.

“So to see how far we have come from there is special to me. They have become a team that no one takes lightly, and to have the depth of players that we showed last season as well is key.

“We also have a strong Shrimpton Trophy competition now with five teams [including Nelson, the first South Island CD team to join], plus a Women’s CD A programme back for the first time in years to help prepare more players for the step up.

"Those are strong foundations on which the team can continue to grow.”

This is the area that Watkins will continue to lead and develop, as well as working hands-on with the tiers of emerging players throughout CD, whilst stepping aside from the day-to-day mitting and masterminding of the Hinds’ campaigns.

“They’re a really good group of players and I will still be seeing them all regularly, which is nice,” adds Watkins. “With most of the top group still only in their mid-20s, there is plenty left to come in their careers, and it’s an exciting time for a new Head Coach to come in and bring a fresh approach.

"It will be stimulating for the group to have a new voice.”

Central Districts CEO, Lance Hamilton said Watkins would be a tough act to follow as a coach.

“Everyone who knows Jamie knows just how deeply passionate he is about this team, and, about growing the depth of the female game in our CD region.

"His pastoral care for the team has seen him give his all to the combined roles, and he has been an exceptional coach of the side.

"It's typical of Jamie that he is putting the team first in consideration of a change of coach at this point in time.

"We’re very pleased that Jamie will be continuing in the latter role for us, and on behalf of the organisation I would like to thank him for all his work leading the Central Hinds programme for us.”

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