University of Waikato Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar Felicity Leydon-Davis is one the first women cricketers in New Zealand to secure an annual contract with New Zealand Cricket.
Felicity, predominantly a fast-bowler but also handy with the bat, is the only Northern Spirit player among the 10 women who now have contracts – the result of a new Memorandum of Understanding between New Zealand Cricket and the New Zealand Cricket Players' Association.
Money will be a help
Felicity is studying for a Bachelor of Science at Waikato. She says it’s exciting to be part of this first large group of contractees. Up until now, top women players have only been paid assembly fees when training and playing for the White Ferns. The money will help support her busy sporting life.
“I'm lucky financially, really. I still live at home which helps keep my day-to-day living costs quite low, but this contract will help cover all the extras that are needed when you play sport at top level – training gear, chiropractor appointments, massages and all the little things that crop up and add up.”
White Ferns Coach Hamish Barton says the 10 contracted players are a good mix of youth and experience.
“This group of players is expected to form the core of our team over the next 12 months and likely play a key role in how successful we are during this time,” he says.
“Young players such as Felicity Leydon-Davis and Hayley Jensen really took their opportunities during the summer and we’re excited about their ongoing development. That’s balanced out by more experienced players such as Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine, so there’s a good mix in there.”
Balance between study and cricket
It’ll be a busy summer for the players, starting with the White Ferns tour of the West Indies in September and after the domestic season, a tour to England in February/March next year.
For Felicity, it’s quite a task juggling sport and study. “It’s never easy when I’m away for extensive amounts of time each semester. Luckily I’ve managed to build good relationships with my lecturers to ensure that I can get the work done to a high standard. I try to keep up while I’m away and that means I spend a lot of my spare time studying between training, matches and team activities.”
As a Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar at the University of Waikato, Felicity has her course fees paid and receives leadership training and ongoing support from the University’s High Performance team. Felicity has also been a national and international age-group champion in badminton. Her sister Susannah and brother Oliver, also Waikato University students, are representing New Zealand in badminton at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.