WA, Breakers to meet in WNCL final
An experienced WA lineup will stand in the way of a remarkable 21st WNCL title for the NSW Breakers in the final at North Sydney Oval on Sunday
15 February 2020, 02:04 PM AEST
It will be a case of youth coming up against experience when the New South Wales Breakers meet Western Australia in the Women’s National Cricket League final this Sunday at North Sydney Oval.
Looking to maintain their stranglehold on the WNCL trophy, the Breakers have named seven teenagers in their 13-player squad for the decider, whereas Western Australia have fielded a similar squad that contested the WNCL final against NSW two years ago.
The Breakers are aiming to win their 21st title from 24 WNCL seasons, having featured in the decider in every single season. A win for the Western Australians would see them hold the Ruth Preddy Cup for the second time in the competition’s history.
They last won the national domestic championship in 1986-87, under the previous Australian Women’s Cricket Championship format.
The decider comes just over a week after strong batting performances from Chloe Piparo and Nicole Bolton helped the Western Australians defeat the Breakers by four wickets at North Sydney Oval to secure their spot in the final.
Western Australia captain Piparo says her side will not be intimidated by the Breakers’ remarkable record, and they are taking plenty of confidence from last week’s win.
"It’s a final, everyone goes in nil-all," Piparo said on Saturday.
"For us, we’re taking great confidence that we beat them just over a week ago.
"When we do perform well, it trumps them, so for us, if we just stick to our guns, we know we’ve got players who can win matches for us."
Allrounder Lisa Griffith is standing in as Breakers captain in place of regular skipper Alyssa Healy who, along with Rachael Haynes and Ashleigh Gardner, is with the Australian team preparing for the T20 World Cup.
After last week’s loss to WA, Griffith is confident her side can move through the gears in tomorrow’s final.
"We’ve got that extra 20 per cent left with the bat and ball, and if we can bring that, it’ll go a long way to winning this game," she said.
"Coming into this year with a lot of young faces, I’m not sure that a lot of people backed us in to be making this final.
"So it’s a testament to what Cricket NSW have done and a testament to these young girls who have stepped up all year round."
Griffith will be bolstered by the experience of veteran seamer Sarah Aley, along with Breakers legend Rene Farrell, who is set to play her final match of professional cricket after a distinguished career that has spanned 13 years and included 101 caps for Australia.
Farrell is the leading wicket-taker in the WNCL this season, having taken 17 scalps at 14.23.
This time. Tomorrow. 🏆 We are so ready for you Breakers 💪#WESTISBEST pic.twitter.com/w84NXCV760— WACA (@WACA_Cricket) February 14, 2020
However, Western Australian bowlers Emma King and Bolton are hot on her heels with 15 and 13 wickets respectively.
Bolton is looming as key to Western Australia’s success. With 55 international matches under her belt, she is also Western Australia’s leading run scorer with 369 at 46.13.
The Breakers will be hoping young guns Phoebe Litchfield and Tahlia Wilson can continue their red-hot form and outplay their more experienced opponents.
It’s been a breakout season for teenage sensation Litchfield. Following a stunning debut for the Sydney Thunder under lights back in October, she has since played a match-winning hand for the Governor General’s XI against India, as well as featuring in the Bushfire Cricket Bash alongside the likes of Ricky Ponting and Brian Lara.
Sixteen-year-old Litchfield has scored 249 runs at an average of nearly 50 in her first campaign.
Similarly, 20-year-old Wilson is the Breakers’ leading run-scorer this season with 255 runs at 42.5.
Final training session before the BIG day tomorrow 👊 🏏!!#WNCLFinal pic.twitter.com/5tmuKuigt4— NSW Breakers (@NSWBreakers) February 15, 2020
Both sides come into the final having lost just two matches throughout the regular season, however the Breakers’ two bonus points compared to WA’s single bonus point meant they earned the right to host the final.
The WNCL final will be streamed live and free on cricket.com.au and on the CA Live app.
NSW Breakers squad: Lisa Griffith (c ), Sarah Aley, Stella Campbell, Maddy Darke, Hannah Darlington, Rene Farrell, Saskia Horley, Phoebe Litchfield, Hayley Silver-Holmes, Linsey Smith, Naomi Stalenberg, Rachel Trenaman, Tahlia Wilson.
Western Australia squad: Chloe Piparo ( c), Megan Banting, Nicole Bolton, Mathilda Carmichael, Piepa Cleary, Ash Day, Amy Edgar, Heather Graham, Kath Hempenstall, Ash Inglis, Ash King, Emma King, Taneale Peschel.