“A strong and settled line-up — in essence, a generation of cricketers at the top of their game” is how Central Districts Cricket High Performance Manager Lance Hamilton describes the first 15 of the 16 new season Central Stags contracts on offer for 2019/20, revealed today.
The Stags will head into next season as New Zealand’s defending champions in two of the game’s three domestic formats, having won the first-class Plunket Shield for a second consecutive year and the men’s Burger King Super Smash as they continue scripting one of CD’s best all-time eras.
It was the first time the Stags had won both the first-class championship and T20 titles in the same season — styles of cricket that require disparate skill sets. It was also just the second time a CD team had lifted the Plunket Shield championship back to back — emulating their 1960s predecessors with another convincing campaign, including two innings victories.
More than half the players, the majority of whom are homegrown, have already represented the BLACKCAPS, providing the association with a cast of established, proven performers. The result is a steady-as-she-goes approach, reflected by today’s contract offers.
Kieran Noema-Barnett has been offered the opportunity to return to fully contracted status after the richly experienced allrounder produced one of his best first-class seasons, scoring two centuries and one half century from five Plunket Shield matches at a batting average of 43.75.
Noema-Barnett, 32, first represented the Stags in 2008/09 and, as a captain, led the side to a Plunket Shield championship title in 2012/13. He then took up a four-year County contract with Gloucestershire in 2014 before returning from England to Hawke’s Bay with his young family last year.
Fast bowler Adam Milne and hard-hitting opener George Worker return to the domestic contracts fold after having previously been centrally contracted by NZC. Batsman Will Young was meanwhile elevated to an NZC contract for the first time this year, after continuing to impress the BLACKCAPS selection group last summer.
NZC’s contracted players for 2019/20 was announced early in May, uncapped Young joining BLACKCAPS legend Ross Taylor as the two players from Central Districts to be offered contracts at the top level.
Each of the six Major Associations is permitted to offer up to 15 professional domestic contracts in the first round of the annual contracting process. This is followed by a 10-day transfer window should players wish to pursue opportunities elsewhere, before the final contract offer is announced to bring the total to 16.
The final CDCA contract spot for 2019/20 will be announced on Monday, 1 July.
2019/20 CDCA contract offers
Doug Bracewell (Hawke's Bay)
Tom Bruce (Taranaki)
Josh Clarkson (Nelson)
Dane Cleaver (Manawatū)
Greg Hay (Nelson)
Willem Ludick (Nelson)
Adam Milne (Manawatū)
Kieran Noema-Barnett (Hawke’s Bay)
Ajaz Patel (Hawke's Bay)
Seth Rance (Wairarapa)
Bevan Small (Manawatū)
Ben Smith (Whanganui)
Blair Tickner (Hawke's Bay)
Ben Wheeler (Marlborough)
George Worker (Manawatū)