WNCL 2018-19

Carey comes of age on the big stage

Nicola Carey's star turn in the WNCL final made a big impression on star teammates Ellyse Perry and Alyssa Healy

Laura Jolly

9 February 2019, 07:00 PM AEST

Nicola Carey's player-of-the-match display in Saturday's Women's National Cricket League final could be the making of the allrounder, two of her Australian teammates believe.

NSW allrounder Carey struck a half-century and shared a key 103-run third-wicket partnership with Rachael Haynes to help the Breakers post 7-259 against Queensland at North Sydney Oval, before collecting 3-39 with the ball as NSW claimed a 31-run win and their 20th WNCL title.

The 25-year-old, who is never fully comfortable in the limelight, was quick to downplay her efforts after the match but she made a big impression on NSW captain Alyssa Healy and star allrounder Ellyse Perry.

"I was pretty cooked bowling and I found batting really tough as well," Carey reflected after claiming her winners' medal. "I just wanted it to be done, I was pretty happy to get that (final wicket) in the end."

Carey made her Australian debut in India last year and has since played six ODIs and one T20I for her country.

Carey crafts crucial half-century

She's set to be a key player in what looms as a busy year for the national team – starting with a three-match ODI series against New Zealand later this month before an away Ashes and a T20 World Cup on home soil in early 2020 – and Healy expects big things.

"I'm really proud of Nic, she's come a long way in her cricket the last two seasons," Healy told ABC Grandstand after the final.

"To see it culminate in a big-game performance today is something really special, she should be really proud.

"She's got a long future for Australia if she wants it and I think today was a really big stepping stone for her in believing she can play this level and the level above.

"Hopefully she just keeps getting better and better."

Carey collects three wickets

For Perry, who played her final game for the Breakers on Saturday as she prepares to relocate to Victoria, the development of players like Carey is a reassuring sign she's leaving the state in excellent hands.

"Nic was superb out there today with the way she batted and then to back it up with the ball," Perry said.

"She's really matured as a cricketer especially in the last 12 months, it's been really nice to watch the growth of her and some of the other in the girls in the squad.

"There's some really bright futures amongst that group."

Saturday's title was Perry's 11th from 12 seasons playing for the Breakers.

Breakers claim remarkable 20th WNCL title

Next summer she'll join national skipper Meg Lanning in the navy blue, but she couldn't think of a better way to finish her time at NSW than by ensuring "Ruth" – the Ruth Preddy Cup – remained safe in the Breakers' keeping.

"It's just been an absolute honour, I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to represent New South Wales and all it stands for," she said.

"The record of the team is just amazing, so to have played a very small part of that has been an honour and it's something I'll cherish for the rest of my career."

CommBank ODIs v NZ 

February 22: First ODI, WACA Ground, Perth

February 24: Second ODI, Karen Rolton Oval, Adelaide

March 3: Third ODI, Junction Oval, Melbourne