Teen tyros light up opening weekend of WBBL|05
Phoebe Litchfield wasn't the only teenager to make a big impression as the first standalone season of the WBBL got underway
22 October 2019, 08:42 AM AEST
Everywhere you looked during the opening weekend of the Rebel WBBL, teenagers were tearing it up.
The biggest story was undoubtedly the debut of 16-year-old Phoebe Litchfield, a left-handed batter who struck scores of 26 and 52no for the Sydney Thunder after making her Big Bash debut, before heading back to Orange so she didn’t miss her Year 10 classes on Monday.
She wasn't the only Thunder young gun to make an impression on the weekend, with 18-year-old allrounder Hannah Darlington collecting figures of 1-22 from four overs against the powerful Heat batting line-up.
"(Litchfield’s) pretty incredible, she’s a very talented young player," Thunder captain Rachael Haynes said on Channel 7’s broadcast on Sunday.
"Hannah Darlington was really good with the ball, it’s a really positive thing for NSW cricket that these girls are now having an impact in WBBL."
Teens Maddy Darke, Hayley Silver-Holmes and Stella Campbell all played both matches for the Sydney Sixers at North Sydney Oval, while Melbourne Stars fielded two youngsters of their own in their double-header against Hobart Hurricanes in Tess Flintoff and Chloe Rafferty.
Flintoff, a 16-year-old allrounder, held her own against a strong Hurricanes bowling attack, scoring 34no from 22 deliveries and finishing with figures of 0-9 from two overs on Saturday.
Josie Dooley, 19, who made the move from the Heat to the Renegades this season for increased opportunities with the bat and the wicketkeeping gloves, impressed with an unbeaten 20 from 19 deliveries in Saturday’s opener before icing victory with a boundary on Sunday.
Brisbane Heat leg-spinner Amelia Kerr is – incredibly – an old hand at this elite cricket thing, having plied her trade for New Zealand since she was 16 years old, but she nonetheless lit up North Sydney Oval in her own Big Bash debut on Saturday night when she took three wickets in four balls and missed out on a hat-trick by the narrowest of margins.
The performances of Litchfield, Flintoff and co. bode well for the future of Australian cricket, particularly with a women’s Under-19 World Cup to be held for the first time in 2021.
"We’ve got some exciting young talent," Melbourne Stars captain Elyse Villani said.
"(Flintoff’s) incredibly talented with both bat and ball and I know she’ got a huge future with the Stars.
"It was awesome to see her go out there and be really clear on her plans and go out there and play with freedom and with a smile on her face.
"I think Australian cricket is in an incredible space.
"The current team is doing amazingly well and the young talent coming through as well, I think it’ll be a formidable team for now and for the future with talents like that coming through."
Litchfield’s efforts were enough to see her earn a nomination for the WBBL|05 Rebel Young Gun award.
Through the season, a player will be nominated each week with an overall winner announced at the end of the season.