The national domestic competition in Australia for Women’s cricket, the 2018-19 Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL) will get started from the 21st September, 2018. This will be the 23rd season of the domestic 50 overs competition in Women’s cricket for Australia. The finals of the competition will take place on 9th February, 2019.
Six teams will feature on the opening day of the competition with 3 matches being played in Brisbane, Perth and Goal Coast. WNCL will feature 7 teams namely Tasmanian Roar, Victorian Spirit, South Australian Scorpions, New South Wales Breakers, ACT Meteors, Queensland Fire and Western Fury. On the first day, Western Fury will take on Victorian Spirit at Perth, Tasmanian Roar’s will be against ACT Meteors at Brisbane and Gold Coast will feature Queensland Fire taking on New South Wales Breakers.
The fixtures of the competition will be divided in 3 phases with first phase comprising of 7 matches from 21st- 23rd September. Second phase will be from 9th -11th November which will also comprise of 7 matches. The third and the final phase of matches will take place from 1st of February 2019 to the 3rd of February. Each team will play once against each other and the top 2 teams at the end of the league stage will feature in the Finals to be held on 9th February.
WNCL is considered as the most important competition for Women’s Cricket in Australia and is a testing ground to have a look at lots of domestic talent. Every team effectively gets a chance to play only 6 matches, the women cricketers have been preparing for this competition for the past 11 months. With the 2021 World Cup and Qualifiers in sight, this competition will give a chance for the National Selectors to scout for new talent and include them in the plans for the big event.
Last year’s WNCL saw New South Wales taking on Western Australia in the finals with New South Wales emerging as the champions. Ellyse Perry of NSW was the highest run scorer in the tournament with 372 runs in 7 matches. Rene Farrell of NSW was the highest wicket taker with 16 wickets in 7 matches. Rachael Haynes was adjudged as the player of the tournament where she scored 363 runs at an impressive strike rate of 112.73 and an average of 90.75 which included 1 century and 3 half centuries.
Let us have a look at how the teams stack up for this year’s tournament –
NSW Breakers – The defending champions will be glad to welcome back the current Australian all-rounder Ashley Gardner to their star studded squad. She will join her international team mates Alyssa Healy, Ellyse Perry, Rachel Haynes and Nicola Carey. Alyssa Healy will be the captain for this season replacing the retired Alex Blackwell.
Western Fury – The finalists of the last season also boasts of a strong squad for this year’s WNCL too. Chloe Piparo will be leading the side in the tournament replacing Villani as the former captain. The young fast bowler Ashlee King and 29 year old Kath Hempenstall will feature in their line up. Australian stars Nicole Bolton and Heather Graham (2nd highest wicket taker in last season) are amongst the other key players for the Western’s team this season.
South Australia Scorpions – Megan Schutt and Amanda Wellington will feature in the South Australian squad this season. Kelly Armstrong, Samantha Betts, Tahlia McGrath also feature in the squad which will be led by Australian spearhead Megan Schutt this season. Tegan McPharlin will be her deputy.
ACT Meteors – Former Victorian all rounder Anna Lanning will be a part of the ACT Meteors team for this year’s campaign with Erin Osborne set to lead the team in the tournament. Samantha Bates, Hayley Jensen, Katie Mack and Erin Burns are amongst the other popular names in the squad. All the eyes will be on the 18 year old Matilda Lugg who was one of the top performers at the National Under-18 Championships.
Queensland Fire – A major addition to the Queensland Fire’s squad this year will be the former batter from Australia, Jess Duffin. She has featured in 50 ODIs and has scored 1265 runs with 9 half centuries. She will join her other former international teammates Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney and all-rounder Delissa Kimmince. Kirby Short will be captaining the side this season.
Victoriam Spirit – After missing the last year’s competition due to injury, Meg Lanning the Australian skipper will be a part of the Victorian squad. Also, another huge boost to the squad will be the addition of Australian star Elyse Villani who has moved over from Western to Victoria. Villani was amongst the top scorers in the last season where she scored 362 runs for the Westerns. Kristy Beams, Sophie Molineux, Moly Strano, Alana King and Emma Inglis will also feature in the saquad with Meg Lanning leading the pack.
Tasmania Roar – After a forgettable season last year, the only team who did not win even a single game, the Roar’s will be looking forward to turn their fortunes this year. The side does not feature any notable names from the current Australian squad but they do have a new coach and former English team mentor Saliann Briggs who would be hoping for a better season this time around. Brooke Hepburn will lead the team which also features Stefanie Daffara, Sasha Moloney, Emma Thompson and Ashley Day will be some of the other key players to watch out for in the Tasmanian squad.