The SkyCity Hamilton Northern Spirit's 20th season will reach a special conclusion tomorrow as they make a first appearance in the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield Grand Final.
Adding polish to the occasion is the match being held at the Spirit's home ground of Seddon Park after a first-placed round-robin finish secured Grand Final hosting rights.
The journey to a first final and importance of the achievement has not been lost on Spirit head coach Kari Carswell.
"I'm delighted for everyone who has played a part in shaping the Spirit into the side it is today; we've played the long game over the last 20 years," said Carswell.
"We've developed many talented cricketers over the years and this current group are the guardians of the game, so I'm super excited to see them secure a first ever Grand Final in our 20th anniversary year."
Carswell said pure hard work and each player knowing their strengths has been the key to the Spirit's drastically improved performances this year.
"The players deserve so much credit, every single member of the squad has worked so hard on their own game," she said.
"We started training in May, we knew we had to get better and the only way to do that is to be thorough in your work, understand your strengths and stick to them.
"We've still got work to do but we are certainly on the right track."
When asked about a specific highlight from the season, Carswell instead focused on the contributions the side had from different players throughout the season.
"The most pleasing thing about this season is that it has been a real team effort; different players have stood up in different games and that has been great to see as it is an important part of being in a team environment," said Carswell.
Looking ahead to tomorrow's game, Carswell is eager to see her players enjoy the day.
"The players have prepared well all season, worked very hard on their individual games and are starting to get the rewards they deserve; I can't wait to see the buzz around the warm-up on Saturday," she said.
The Hallyburton Johnstone Shield Grand Final is being played Saturday, March 14 (10.30am) at Seddon Park, Hamilton and is free entry.
SKYCITY HAMILTON NORTHERN SPIRIT HALLYBURTON JOHNSTONE SHIELD SQUAD - GRAND FINAL VS AUCKLAND HEARTS
Felicity Leydon-Davis (c)
Charlotte SarsfieldMakayla Templeton