The 26th season of Australia’s domestic cricket league for women, The Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL) finally gets underway on Thursday, 16th December. The 50-over competition which was originally scheduled to be held in September this year got postponed due to lockdown in the city of Sydney and Melbourne leading to border restrictions.
However, the seven-team league is now set to begin with teams announcing their final squad for the season. Let’s have a look at the squad for each of the eight teams.
· Queensland Fire:
The defending champions have decided to go ahead with the squad which brought them their maiden title last season under the captaincy of Jess Jonassen. Just a couple of forced changes is all that they have with Delissa Kimmince retiring and Tess Cooper not renewing her contract. The only new face in the side is 18 years old Ruth Johnston who recorded the second-best spell of WBB|07, with her 4/8, and finished as the second-highest wicket-taker for Hobart Hurricanes, contributing well with the bat too. She joins her cousin Ellie Johnston in the team.
Ins: Ruth Johnston
Outs: Tess Cooper, Delissa Kimmince (retired)
Batters: Laura Kimmince, Mikayla Hinkley, Georgia Voll, Charli Knott
All-rounders: Megan Dixon, Grace Harris, Ellie Johnston, Ruth Johnston, Jess Jonassen, Lilly Mills
Wicket-keepers: Beth Mooney, Georgia Redmayne, Caitlyn Mair
Bowlers: Holly Ferling, Georgia Prestwidge, Courtney Sippel
· ACT Meteors:
The team representing Australia’s capital city of Canberra had to forcefully bid farewell to one of their key bowlers, Maitlan Brown who moved to the team from her home state, New South Wales. The other two changes Angela Reakes’ team saw were Erin Osborne and Allison McGrath, both not signing any new state contact to focus on things apart from their playing commitments, but they continue to be in the NSW camp. Replacing the three in the team are: Kayla Burton and bowlers Gabrielle Sutcliffe and Chloe Rafferty with the hope to follow the success of Brown.
In: Kayla Burton, Gabrielle Sutcliffe, Chloe Rafferty
Out: Erin Osborne, Maitlan Brown (NSW), Allison McGrath
Batters: Katie Mack, Kayla Burton, Rebecca Carter
All-rounders: Angela Reakes, Madeline Penna, Olivia Porter, Carly Leeson
Wicket-keepers: Matilda Lugg, Erica Kershaw
Bowlers: Amy Yates, Nicola Hancock, Zoe Cooke, Gabrielle Sutcliffe, Chloe Rafferty
· New South Wales Breakers:
While Meteors are disappointed for losing Maitlan Brown in the squad, New South Wales is delighted to have her with them. Along with Brown, the other new faces in the most successful WNCL team are teenagers Jade Allen and Claire Moore while Maddy Darke, Lisa Griffith have signed with Western Australia and Hayley Silver-Holmes with Tasmanian Tigers.
Captained by one of the best wicket-keeper batter Alyssa Healy, the NSW squad for the season looks to be a strong one with a number of players looking in good form considering their WBBL|07 performance.
In: Maitlan Brown, Jade Allen, Claire Moore
Out: Maddy Darke (WA), Lisa Griffith (WA), Hayley Silver-Holmes (TAS)
Batters: Rachael Haynes, Phoebe Litchfield, Rachel Trenaman, Anika Learoyd, Claire Moore
All-rounders: Ashleigh Gardner, Hannah Darlington, Erin Burns, Sammy Jo-Johnson
Wicket-keepers: Alyssa Healy, Tahlia Wilson
Bowlers: Stella Campbell, Maitlan Brown, Lauren Smith, Jade Allen, Lauren Cheatle, Emma Hughes
· South Australian Scorpions:
SA Scorpions looks like another well-settled team with no one from the previous season going out of the squad. In fact, the elevation of their youngest team member Darcie Brown to a full Cricket Australia Contract has opened room for an addition into the squad for which the Scorpions who are led by the star bowler Megan Schutt have chosen all-rounder Kate Peterson.
In: Kate Peterson
Batters: Emma De Broughe, Annie O’Neil, Bridget Patterson, Eliza Doddridge, Courtney Webb
All-rounders: Tahlia McGrath, Amanda-Jade Wellington, Jemma Barsby, Kate Peterson
Wicket-keepers: Tegan McPharlin, Josie Dooley
Bowlers: Megan Schutt, Darcie Brown, Sam Betts, Ellie Falconer, Brooke Harris, Alex Price
· Tasmanian Tigers:
The Tigers squad which finished at third in the table last season has seen four changes with Brooke Hepburn retiring, Meg Phillips delisted, Emma Thompson going on maternity leave and Spinner Sam Bates moving to Victoria. While Emma Manix-Geeves has been called as a replacement for Thompson for this season, the team captained by all-rounder Sasha Moloney has brought Hayley Silver-Holmes from NSW and last season’s top run-scorer Elyse Villani and highest wicket-taker Molly Strano from Victoria.
In: Hayley Silver-Holmes, Elyse Villani, Molly Strano
Out: Brooke Hepburn (retired), Samantha Bates (VIC), Meg Phillips
Batters: Corinne Hall, Naomi Stalenberg, Elyse Villani, Emma Thompson (unavailable this season)
All-rounders: Heather Graham, Sasha Moloney, Nicola Carey, Chloe Abel, Maisy Gibson
Wicket-keepers: Rachel Priest, Emily Smith, Emma Manix-Geeves
Bowlers: Hayley Silver-Holmes, Amy Smith, Molly Strano, Belinda Vakarewa
· Victorian Spirit:
Runners-up of the 2020-21 season, Victoria has seen several in and out. The first two were Elyse Villani and Molly Strano who finished as the top run-scorer and wicket-taker respectively last season, both moving to Tasmania. Then Courtney Neale has parted ways and joined Western Australia’s squad while Bhavi Devchand, Elly Donald, Zoe Griffiths have been delisted. The six have made way for Samantha Bates who left the Tasmanian squad, Tiana Atkinson, Ella Hayward, Rhys McKenna, Rhiann O’Donnell, Lara Shannon who get new deals.
Led by the Australian captain Meg Lanning and consisting of some top names of women cricket mostly all-rounders, Victoria would be looking to grab the title this year after finishing as the closest one to it last season.
In: Samantha Bates, Tiana Atkinson, Ella Hayward, Rhys McKenna, Rhiann O’Donnell, Lara Shannon
Out: Molly Strano (TAS), Elyse Villani (TAS), Courtney Neale (WA), Bhavi Devchand, Elly Donald, Zoe Griffiths
Batters: Meg Lanning, Amy Vine, Anna Lanning, Tiana Atkinson, Lara Shannon
All-rounders: Ellyse Perry, Annabel Sutherland, Sophie Molineux, Kim Garth, Georgia Wareham, Makinley Blows, Lucy Cripps, Sophie Day, Tess Flintoff, Rhiann O’Donnell
Wicket-keepers: Nicole Faltum
Bowlers: Tayla Vlaeminck, Samantha Bates, Ella Hayward, Rhys McKenna
· Western Australia:
Leaving behind a disappointing last season finishing at the bottom of the table, WA has made four changes to their squad with the aim to perform well this season. Three of which being forced ones with all-rounders Nicole Bolton and Emma King retiring and Piepa Cleary shifting to the UK due to personal reasons. Megan Banting who was delisted is the third change for Chloe Piparo’s led side which has recruited wicketkeeper batter Madeleine Darke and all-rounder Lisa Griffith from NSW and fast bowler, Courtney Neale, from Victoria.
In: Madeleine Darke, Lisa Griffith, Courtney Neale
Out: Nicole Bolton (retired), Emma King (retired), Piepa Cleary, Megan Banting
Batters: Mathilda Carmichael, Amy Edgar, Chloe Piparo, Ashley Day, Molly Healy
All-rounders: Alana King, Lisa Griffith, Georgia Wyllie
Wicket-keepers: Madeleine Darke
Bowlers: Zoe Britcliffe, Sheldyn Cooper, Taneale Peschel, Courtney Neale
With a packed cricket season lined up consisting of Ashes, World Cup as two major competitions, Cricket Australia had to divide the league into two blocks with the first half having six games being played before Christmas followed by eight games in January just before the Women Ashes which start from January 27. The second half of the season is scheduled from February 14th onwards and will have its matches coinciding with the ODIs between Australia and England. The Finals will be played on Sunday, March 6, two days after the 2022 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup begins.
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