Some Wellington Blaze women cricketers are shocked by the sudden departure of their popular coach Christie van Dyk amid suggestions Cricket Wellington showed him the door for what it deemed inappropriate behaviour.
Cricket Wellington released a curious and brief statement late on Friday saying: “Following Christie van Dyk’s resignation he has stepped down as the coach of the Wellington Blaze cricket team after a successful Super Smash campaign.”
There was no further detail and certainly no glowing tribute for his successful two seasons at the helm of a team including big names in women’s cricket like Sophie Devine, Amelia Kerr and captain Liz Perry, a former White Fern.
The timing of his departure seems strange, with van Dyk having guided the Blaze to back-to-back Twenty20 titles last month and the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield one-day competition set to resume on February 16. His wife, Silver Ferns netball great Irene van Dyk, worked with him as team manager.
There is no suggestion there was anything sinister behind the messages which were described more as naive.
Van Dyk was generally well liked by his players and known in cricket circles for being “old school” in his language and behaviour. Stuff understands that by bringing the messages to the attention of the hierarchy, it was hoped van Dyk might be asked to undergo a personal development programme at season’s end.
Instead it appears the board chaired by Sally Morrison acted swiftly, and van Dyk departed abruptly. The players were described as shocked, some upset, when they were told. His two-year contract was set to expire in May.
Cricket Wellington chief executive Cam Mitchell stood by the initial statement on Tuesday morning, reiterating that van Dyk resigned and was not pushed. “It was Christie’s decision and if he wants to shed any light on his reasons, he can.”
Van Dyk did not return calls or respond to a voice message on Tuesday morning. He has communicated with friends via text message and is said to be upset and unable to speak about the circumstances of his departure.
Van Dyk was announced as Blaze coach in July 2017 after many years of coaching in the Wellington region, having moved from South Africa with wife Irene when she switched netball allegiance to New Zealand.