Newly relocated Timaru cricketer Victoria Abbott had to overcome a crisis of confidence and bad bouts of cramp to have her best day with the bat at the domestic level in Otago Sparks’ one-day final win on Saturday.
The 25-year-old who has had to train by herself since moving to Timaru in October made her highest first-class score, 66, in Otago’s three-wicket win over Auckland.
It was only Otago’s second title in 50 years.
Abbott came in at No 5 at a crucial point in pursuit of Auckland’s 245 all out.
The Southerners were 56-3 as Abbott joined her captain, Suzie Bates.
“I thought the game was pretty much over to be honest,” Abbott said as she recalled her thoughts as she walked to the crease.
“I had only faced eight balls in the entire season and that was quite a big thing that was playing on my mind, but it all came together in the last game and thankfully it was the game that mattered.”
She said she had a great partner in Bates to resurrect the run-chase with.
“We run well together between the wickets. We tend to feed off each other because she’s a big hitter and, equally, I take the pressure off her.
“I had been suffering cramp throughout the whole innings – I went off for the last two overs when we were bowling, so I didn’t think I would last that long.
“At one stage I said to Suzie, ‘I think I’m going to have to retire and started to walk off’ but then she said ‘are you actually going to get any better? Perhaps you should just go for it.”
“Having the cramp actually made me focus and not worry about the fact I had only faced eight balls previously. It came down to watching the next ball that was coming.”
Abbott had been part of the New Zealand Emerging Players squad last season and has been involved in the White Ferns wider training squad this season.
“I have found it hard going what with living in Timaru and previously Nelson, I’ve had to do all my training by myself so it can be difficult at times.”
Abbott did not look for a club team this season while in the midst of moving to a new area and finding a job just as the season started, but believed regular cricket next season would give her the chance to attain her ultimate goal of the White Ferns. She said she was willing to play second grade men’s cricket in South Canterbury to help her game.
“I was playing a second grade competition in Nelson, so I’d like to do something like that here. I’ve been hiring out the Blanchard Centre here and in an hour and a half I’ll bowl six overs straight and then use the bowling machine.”
Finding a South Canterbury-based club would be a priority next season.