The inaugural women's Big Bash League in Australia threatens to dent St Albans' prospects of securing a fourth consecutive one-day title, with the tournament adding to prolific run scorer Amy Satterthwaite's busy summer schedule.
The New Zealand and Canterbury representative routinely pulverised Christchurch club bowling attacks last season, scoring four hundreds and a half century while amassing 711 runs at 142.2.
There is respite for St Albans' four rivals with the 28-year-old only expecting to play a minimum of club games as representative commitments, one-day cricket in Tasmania and a highly-anticipated Big Bash stint with the Hobart Hurricanes from December taking precedence.
"All things going well, I'll play two or three [for St Albans]. It's a different concept, a few years ago I'd have played 15 in a season," who had that workload halved last season.
Pace bowler Lea Tahuhu, who is playing for the ACT in Australia's one-day competition, will also be unavailable for much of the season.
"It's a different sort of feeling, they guys are not used to not really playing club cricket if they're at a high level, it's a bit new for the girls," said Satterthwaite, who was confident the squad could cope in her absence.
"They've got some handy wee players there, hopefully we'll be alright."
Former South African international Bernadine Bezuidenhout, who is aiming to represent New Zealand in 2017 after completing a two-year stand down, is a key acquisition as a wicketkeeper and top order strokemaker.
"From what I've seen in the nets she looks very capable. It'll be quite valuable to have her in the side," Satterthwaite said.
East Christchurch Shirley also have a Southern African influence this season with Zimbabwean legspinner Tasmeen Granger joining the club as player/coach as the club try and develop the women's format.
The 21-year-old will also be tasked with promoting the club in local schools.
White Ferns medium pacer Hayley Jensen is currently playing in Melbourne though East Christchurch can still call upon Canterbury reps Jacinta Savage and Olivia McGoverne when available. Hannah Linton also returns from playing in England.
Satterthwaite nominated reigning T20 champions and one-day runners-up Lancaster Park Woolston as St Albans' biggest danger.
Her provincial teammate Rachel Candy replaces Selina Charteris as coach and will lead the bowling attack with White Fern Frances Mackay.
Candy was also pleased Canterbury hockey rep Kirsty Nation has reverted to cricket while wicketkeeper Laura Hughes has switched from Old Boys Collegians - English import Hayley Aburn moved in the opposite direction.
"St Albans are always strong but they're going to be without a couple of players (Satterthwaite/Tahuhu], that suits us quite fine," said Candy.
Old Boys Collegians have a second English player, Dawn Trestidge, on a roster to be led by Rangi Ruru student, 17-year-old Libby Thompson with support from Meddy Hyde.
"We've got a three to five year plan and going forward she's a part of that," said women's team coordinator Camille Hughes of the decision to hand the teenager a leadership role.
Sydenham, who finished bottom last season, have lost their Scottish internationals Olivia Rae, who opened the batting and co-coached with Maria Fahey, and strike bowler Samantha Haggo due to World Cup qualifiers for 2017.
South African opener and off spinner Carolyn Esterhuizen assumes the player/co-coaching role while rookie quick Gemma Hickson will spearhead the attack in her second season of premier grade.
Sydenham manager Andrew McKenzie described the season as a rebuilding project as the squad has no current New Zealand or Canterbury players.
"It's very much a development squad. The girls have set a goal of getting up to the middle of the table in the competitions."
2014-15 competition winners:
Women's Premier one-day: St Albans
Women's Premier T20: Lancaster Park Woolston
Thanks to Chris Barclay - Stuff.co.nz for the article