Morna Nielsen is a quick study. Just four months after taking up the art of spin bowling, the talented athlete made her international debut against Australia in 2010. The All White and NPL Galaxy team member is now rated one of the world’s best female bowlers on the ICC Twenty20 rankings.
Since getting into the sport in her late teens, the talented athlete started her cricket career with Northern Districts as a medium-pacer, and switched to spin at the start of the 2009-10 season, quickly impressing the selectors. She proceeded to go from strength-to-strength, making her T201 debut in 2012.
Despite niggling injuries (including tearing ligaments in her ankle after tripping on a boundary rope), she made a successful comeback and went on to become a valuable member of the All Whites.
Morna is part of the NPL with the Galaxy team. Out of her sport, she is a structural engineer and can frequently be found running around Hamilton Lake.
Fitness Journal finds out more …
Name: Morna Nielsen
Where do you live? Hamilton
High school attended? Waikato Dio
When I am in Hamilton and not away touring with cricket, I work as a Structural Engineer for BCD Group Ltd
How did you get involved in cricket?
I started playing at Vardon Primary School but have no idea why, as there is no history of anyone in the family being remotely interested in cricket. Greg Barkle was the coach and he encouraged me to keep playing and the rest is history.
What does 2017 involve?
February/March – White Ferns v. Australia and June/July – ODI World Cup in England. Then hopefully back to the Kia Super League in England in August for the Southern Vipers. At this stage I am not too sure what the White Ferns’ schedule is beyond the World Cup.
What are your greatest successes to date?
Domestic: Reaching the T20 final with the Otago Sparks in 2014/2015 season. White Ferns: Winning the T2 series v. Australia in Feb 2016. Other: Winning the Kia Super League with the Southern Vipers in 2016.
What motivates you?
The women’s game is a changing landscape at the moment and there is a real shift in the skill level of the players, meaning it constantly challenges you as a player to evolve your skillset. It is also lots of fun having the opportunity to travel the world and play a game with friends.
What is your greatest challenge?
The power of the mind and being able to execute the skills you have trained for hours on end in a game situation. No amount of training can prepare you for what is going to unfold in the game and the mind is such a powerful tool to help you through those situations.
Who is the team around you?
S+C: Scott Wrenn, bowling: John Furlong,
What does the sport involve in terms of training?
When I am in Hamilton a lot of time is spent on strength and conditioning. So a typical week would involve three strength sessions, one power session, four conditioning sessions – running / biking / rowing, one speed specific session, two or three cricket skills sessions.
What gives you the most pleasure?
What are your long-term goals?
To win the ODI World Cup with the White Ferns this year. There is a core group of players who have been building towards the event for the last couple of years, banking experience of playing in different game situations which will stand us in good stead come the World Cup.
Name some things about cricket people would be surprised to know?
Women’s cricket has now reached a point where many New Zealand players are full-time cricketers.
For the calendar year of 2016 I have spent eight months away from home travelling and playing cricket
What is your favourite training spot?
I love a good running session around Hamilton Lake mainly because I run in the evening and the sunsets are on point.
Where in the world would you love to train/compete?
The ultimate bucket list item is to play at the MCG.
What other sports are you are involved in?
I play 6-aside ‘social’ hockey in the winter which is not social in the slightest and try to do as much snow skiing as possible. BCD Group also competes in local sports comps, so when I am in town will turn out for the work touch rugby team and dabble in the world of corporate rowing which is lots of fun.
What advice would you give to others who want to play cricket?
Give it a go and have fun!