Both allrounders hail from regional parts of the state – Jonassen was born in Emerald and Kimmince Warwick – and they understand the impact that having elite sport in towns like Mackay and Cairns can have on junior participation.
The Heat will host the Adelaide Strikers and Melbourne Renegades this weekend at Great Barrier Reef Arena (GBRA) in Mackay before the Melbourne Stars travel to Cairns to face the club next Saturday January 12.
Crowds of 3657 and 4138 packed into GBRA in January 2018 as the Heat hosted their first BBL or WBBL home game outside of Brisbane, with the matches setting records for the highest attended stand-alone WBBL matches.
Currently in third position on the competition’s ladder, the Heat know two victories this weekend will all but see them feature in the WBBL knock-out stages for the second time.
“I love playing here. The ground and conditions mean the games are high scoring and the crowd create a great atmosphere. Hopefully we can put a show on for them,” said Jonassen on arrival in Mackay today.
“A large part of our squad come from regional areas, so we understand how women’s cricket will grow if we bring more games to places like Mackay.
“The team has really been looking forward to coming up here, especially after last season where we had a really good turnout, so we’re hoping the Mackay locals can get behind us again,” she continued.
For Kimmince, she is hoping to feed off the energy of the Mackay crowd as she looks to continue the form that has seen her evolve into one of Australia’s premier T20 allrounders.
“There’s something about women’s cricket up here. Just coming in from the airport today there seems to be a big buzz around the town. Everyone is talking our games, so hopefully we can put on a good show this weekend.”
The trip to Mackay holds extra significance for Jonassen as she gets to meet players and run a clinic at a competition named after her. This is the second season she has been able to attend the Jess Jonassen Trophy, a T20 competition for teams in regional Queensland, and it's honour she takes very seriously.
“It’s really special,” she says after being asked about the competition that begins tonight at Harrup Park.
“Obviously it is a great privilege, but more-so, it’s just a great opportunity to show young girls who we are and what is possible if they keep playing cricket.”
This weekend’s games in Mackay are being run with support from Mackay Regional Council, with both games free of charge to attend and live-streamed at cricket.com.au.