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Knight signs Northern Districts contract

professional athlete: Kayley Knight has signed a two-year contract with Northern Districts. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell

CRICKET by Jack Malcolm

GISBORNE’S Kayley Knight can now call herself a professional athlete after signing a two-year contract with Northern Districts.

The right-arm medium-pace bowler has experience in first-class company, having played eight games of 50-over cricket since joining in 2017.

Her best result was in 2019, when she took three wickets in four overs while allowing five extras and nine runs to be scored.

Knight, 17, said it was not typical to be signed to a team this young and she was excited about the future.

“When I signed, I officially became a paid player. It means I get more support for travel expenses, player appearance, opportunities with the media . . . and I’m in the Northern Districts playing 13 every round.”

Knight said she hadn’t worked out what her preferred format was, having not had enough experience with the different formats to have an opinion.

“I haven’t had a taste of T20 (at this level) yet.”

As the daughter of former Northern Spirit player Mel Knight, Kayley has a wealth of experience to draw on as she looks to further her career in cricket.

Mother and daughter have played with and against each other, with Mel transitioning into more coaching roles in recent years.

Kayley wanted to thank her mum for the countless hours on the road. They had to travel regularly to Hamilton and Tauranga for training camps and games.

“I drove myself for the first time the other week.”

The news of her contract offer wasn’t the only good news of the week for Kayley. She was also offered the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship, which would put up $10,000 a year towards her tuition.

Kayley plans to study social work at the Tauranga campus of the University of Waikato next year, and the scholarship would make it easier for her to continue playing with the Northern Districts team.

This summer, Kayley plans to be based in Gisborne and travel for games.

If she gets the chance, she’ll be back with the Horouta team in the men’s B Grade this year, but she said: “If Covid goes good, I won’t be here most weekends”.