Fan week - Firebirds & Blaze and Kings & Magicians

It's the fans that make the Burger King Super Smash what it is. All this week we're talking to die-hards from around New Zealand to gauge how they're feeling before we get back underway on 22 December.

Read the rest of our fan previews: 

Wellington Firebirds and Blaze - Jess. 

Which teams do you support and why?

The Firebirds and the Blaze! That's because they're very good teams, and they play at the Basin, the best ground in the county! 

What's been the highlight in your time supporting them?

The 2016 Super Smash win was quite sweet, cos everyone had written us off with our senior players! They just had such a fun tournament the whole time, I really liked it.

Will you be heading to any matches this year?

I'll be going to as many as I can - I've already been to fair amount of Plunket Shield and Ford Trophy matches, I work quite close to the Basin so I can get along for a couple of hours after work.

What's the key to enjoying a successful day out at the park?

Plan in advance so you have enough food and drink and sunblock supplies. Make sure you're seated near the coffee outlet, coffee is very important for cricket watching! And take a soft cushion, otherwise you go a bit numb after eight hours on the terraces.

My usual spot at the Basin is the terraces, as you have the sun behind you and you're pretty close to the action.

Who's your player to watch in this year's competition?

I have to say Andrew Fletcher, who's had a jolly good Ford Trophy so far, I'm hoping he gets a run in the Super Smash.

For the Blaze, you can't go past Amelia Kerr, she's going to do something special.

What are your thoughts on the alignment of the mens and womens competitions this year?

It's definitely going to help the women's game, more people will get exposure and they'll be played in the bigger grounds where more people will see them, especially the double headers/ More people are going to go along and see them I reckon.

Who do you consider your biggest rivals?

All the other teams! And historically, you have to say Auckland really, just the big city rivalry.

If you could have any player in world cricket turn out for the Firebirds or the Blaze, who would it be?

I reckon AB de Villiers, he's an amazing player.

For the Blaze, Alyssa Healy would be great to have in the competition, I reckon!

How would the Firebirds go in the BBL or IPL?

I reckon they'd be on a par and hold their own in the Aussie competition.

Who are the real stars of NZ cricket Twitter?

You can't go past Jimmy Neesham, 'cos he's always got time for the fans. But also Ish Sodhi and Neil Wagner, as they take time to reply to fans.

For fans, Andrew Frame did a great Super Smash XI the other week.. also Leg Gully and Lily Franklin!

Follow Jess on Twitter at @BlackCapsNo1Fan.

Canterbury Kings and Magicians - Chris 'Bondy' Bond. 

Which Major Association do you support and why?

The Kings and the Magicians. Because I've only got one eye, and my blood is red!

What's been the highlight in your time supporting them?

I grew up watching the likes of Craig McMillan, Chris Harris, Lee Germon starting out  in their careers, going around the boundary rope as a little kid and getting signatures.

I remember once someone did a squiggle on my hat, and I wasn't rude but I asked 'excuse me, who are you?' The reply was 'My name's Nathan Astle!' Thank you very much, and then a month later he got named in the BLACKCAPS, and just to go 'wow, that guy gave me his signature, it was amazing, you know?

It's great to see players give kids a couple of moments, and we remember those moments. And the players today, I don't think they've forgotten that and they do it as well, which is really really nice to see.

Will you be heading to any matches this year?

I'll be at all the Kings ones, the ones I'm really looking forward to is the double headers - when you get to see the women smash it out, and the guys come in straight after, it's an opportunity for everyone to see how much the game has progressed, it's very exciting.

What's the key to enjoying a successful day out at the park?

I like to sit at cow corner, and take the picnic rug. You need your fluids, sunhat, sun screen. Plus your own bat and ball is a must if you've got the kids, it's guaranteed you'll be playing cricket in the open spaces, that's for sure.

What are your thoughts on the alignment of the mens and womens competitions this year?

I'm really excited to see it on TV, the public will see how awesome these women are, they're socking it to the guys and the game is just as exciting as what we see from the men.

Who are your players to watch?

I'll be watching out for the youngsters from the Under 19's World Cup to see if they get a run! Man, we've got some phenomenal kids coming through, so talented. Give them a couple of years and they'll be amazing. They learned a couple of harsh lessons in the World Cup unfortunately, but it'll make them better cricketers.

For the Magicians, you're going to see Amy Satterthwaite make multiple hundreds this season, easily! Natalie Cox, she's going to be the rough diamond I reckon, this will be the year she shines bright and does exceptionally well.

Who do you consider your biggest rivals?

Has to be the Volts and Sparks, the battle for the South Island. It's always a fantastic grudge match, I think we're playing them early February. Which Otago will LOSE!

If you could have any player in world cricket turn out for the Kings or Magicians, who would it be?

I love Brett Lee, just the phenomenal pace he brought for Australia. If you've got someone who can bowl that fast and aggressively... As a former opening bat I wouldn't want to face him! He just strikes fear in the batsmen when they come to the crease, a real trump card for any team.

How would the Kings go in the BBL or IPL?

The first year is always the hardest, they'd struggle initially as the competition is so good in Australia, but if we managed to hang in there, give it two or three years, we'd be making the semi finals, for sure. It doesn't help they keep pinching our staff to go over there, like Lee Germon at the Sydney Thunder, luring our talent away...!

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