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Jamie Watkins appointed to new CDCA role

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Central Hinds coach Jamie Watkins is sinking his teeth into a newly created role this summer in which he will oversee the development of women’s cricket throughout Central Districts.

The expanded position of Coach: Female Performance and Pathways also sees Watkins move to a full-time position with CDCA for the first time and is a further reflection of CDCA’s investment in the burgeoning female game.

Previously Watkins worked part-time for both CDCA and Taranaki Cricket Association. Despite resigning from the latter position in order to take up his new role, the Central Hinds mentor will remain based in New Plymouth as CDCA looks to continue to spread its coaching resources across its far-flung region.

Last year, Palmerston North-based Dave Meiring was appointed to the role of Coach: Central Districts A and Pathways to facilitate a Manawatu hub for players coming up through the age-groups. Watkins will mirror Meiring’s role on the western coast, and takes over the Development responsibilities for the female side of the game.

Said Watkins, "Having seen the impact Dave has made already in our region, it’s exciting to have a position now focusing solely on the female pathway, and in addition it will allow me to spend more time with the Hinds.

"It’s a further step in CDCA’s strategy to create and support more player depth, putting things in place to help players along the pathway, to spend more time working with them and to help us to identify them earlier."

Two years ago, Watkins guided the Hinds to their first trophy title in a decade when the youthful side won the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield at Pukekura Park. The team was again in the running for a one-day finals spot last summer until the final weekend of the campaign.

"I’m very passionate about coaching the Hinds - and it’s given my coaching a new lease of life just from my enjoyment of it," says Watkins who previously coached men’s age-group cricket and is married to former WHITE FERNS captain Aimee Watkins.

"Through Aimee I’ve been invested in the women’s game for years and it was as a supporter that I first saw what the likes of Aimee, Sara McGlashan and Rachel Priest were trying to do, as amateur players at that stage trying to play for New Zealand.

"Investment in the women’s game has come forward in leaps and bounds since then, but it’s still a work in progress, and I can appreciate from the Hinds’ perspective what they are trying to achieve.

"Our Domestic players still need to juggle work or study and sport and that’s one of the reasons I enjoy my role with Hinds so much - knowing what those players have to put in to perform at this level.

"To then see them achieve goals like winning a national trophy or making the WHITE FERNS or getting an NZC contract - that is special, and I want to do everything I can to assist that process."

Watkins’ expanded role will allow him to spend more time in CD’s eight Districts to identify future Hinds coming through and put in support for them, and will also permit him to spend more hands-on time with the Hinds team itself.

"It will be nice to be able to spend more time with Hinds players after a round, for instance, looking at video and reviewing performances and putting plans in place for the next game.

"Often we haven’t had a chance to do that because everyone has to get back to their jobs across the country, including me.

"We might have just half an hour after the game before having to head away to the airport - and of course if you have lost, that is not the time to review anything because people are down and still too invested emotionally. You have to let people digest it, then come back to it the next day or the day after. That can be a much more productive process, but previously time just didn’t allow it.

"Being full-time with CD will allow all this to happen as now I have a chance to get around the players more."

Watkins says the 2020/21 season will be a big one for the team.

"We’ve built a really strong team culture and have a number of players who were on the fringes two or three years ago who are now really stepping up for the team.

"Players like Melissa Hansen, Emily Cunningham reached new personal landmarks last summer, and we had some very good wins. The belief is certainly there and I’m very happy to be able to continue the development from the last three years."

Central Districts Chief Executive Pete de Wet said he was delighted the organisation was in a position to invest further in the overall female pathway despite a challenging economic climate.

"We have been strategically working towards decentralising some of our coaching resources from Napier to target that next level of players who don’t necessarily centralise in Napier at camps, as our contracted Stags do.

"It will create a stronger coaching network across our eight District Associations, and it’s exciting to be in this position now where we have someone as passionate and experienced as Jamie working alongside Dave Meiring in this key tier."

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