ACT Meteors joins new T20 competition along with eight WBBL teams

Earlier today, Cricket Australia (CA) announced the inclusion of the ACT Meteors, alongside the existing eight Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) teams, in a new national women’s T20 competition. This tournament is set to take place before the upcoming WBBL season, specifically the 10th edition of the WBBL.

Cricket Australia has introduced a new national women's T20 competition featuring nine teams, including the ACT Meteors, to precede the 10th edition of the WBBL
Cricket Australia has introduced a new national women’s T20 competition featuring nine teams, including the ACT Meteors, to precede the 10th edition of the WBBL

ACT Meteors is the women’s cricket team for the Australian Capital Territory. They compete in the Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL), Australia’s 50-over cricket tournament. While the team has not won any major tournaments, their best finish was as runners-up in the 2013–14 Australian Women’s Twenty20 Cup.

The new national women’s T20 competition will feature a total of nine teams. The format of the competition includes each team playing four matches in the preliminary rounds. Following these matches, the top four teams will advance to the semi-finals, culminating in a final to determine the champion.

Last month, CA launched “The Women and Girls Action Plan,” a significant strategy aimed at advancing women’s cricket. This plan sets ambitious targets for grassroots participation and infrastructure development, as well as goals for increasing commercial revenue and attendance at elite-level matches.

The new national women’s T20 competition is a direct result of the above strategy, ensuring no overall reduction in women’s games despite the changes. This strategy includes shortening the WBBL to a 40-game home-and-away season, aligning it with the men’s Big Bash League. Previously, the WBBL had a 56-game regular season in each of its nine seasons since its introduction in 2015-16.

This new competition brings significant benefits for players participating in both the WBBL and state cricket. One notable advantage is the increase in the average wage for state-contracted players, which will rise to about $163,000 per year. This represents an eight percent increase for players holding both WBBL and state contracts, largely due to extra match payments.

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CA Chief Executive Nick Hockley emphasized that the new domestic T20 competition would significantly advance women’s domestic cricket towards full-time professionalism. He further stated that the new domestic T20 competition would create more opportunities for elite female domestic players, while also would complement the optimized WBBL schedule.

He added, “Elite domestic cricket is the backbone of Australian cricket’s ongoing success, and this competition will allow more domestic players the opportunity to gain top-level experience and showcase their talents.”

However, the addition of ACT Meteors presents some challenges, as several Meteors players were also contracted to Big Bash clubs last season. ACT Meteors previously played in the Australian Women’s Twenty20 Cup until the WBBL was formed.

One such player is batter Katie Mack, who has a year left on her Adelaide Strikers deal. Mack was the top run-scorer for both the Strikers and ACT last summer. The Strikers have confirmed that Mack will play for them in the new competition.

The tournament’s inaugural season faces another setback due to an already busy calendar for Australia’s top women’s cricketers, who will likely be unavailable because of their international schedule – the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Bangladesh which runs until October 20.

As a result, several clubs will miss multiple players for the new tournament with Adelaide Strikers missing services of Tahlia McGrath, Megan Schutt, and Darcie Brown, the Melbourne Renegades of Sophie Molineux, Georgia Wareham, and Tayla Vlaeminck, the Melbourne Stars of Kim Garth and Annabel Sutherland, and the Sydney Sixers of Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, and Ellyse Perry, while the Perth Scorchers could be without Alana King and Beth Mooney.

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