The Lendlease Breakers have pipped South Australia to the post in the nail-biting opening game of the 2016 WNCL, which took place at the Gabba yesterday.
In a match billed as a replay of last year’s WNCL final, the Breezair SA Scorpions, who won the toss and opted to bat, posting 9/215 in their 50 overs despite being tested by the Breakers bowlers with Rene Farrell taking an impressive 3/33.
Farrell’s efforts were backed up by impressive performances by Ash Gardner (2/39) and Sarah Aley (2/55) as well as on the field, with Haynes and Alyssa Healy taking three and two catches respectively.
After losing wickets quickly at the start of the Breakers innings however, it was looking like anyone’s game.
Enter Blackwell (70), whose experience, calm head and sharp decision-making saw her become the glue that held the top order together, giving a real direction to the innings.
With the pressure on the title holders rising, strong performances with the bat by Naomi Stalenberg (33) and Ash Gardner, who made a blistering 46 off just 34 balls, provided the added momentum which ultimately proved too much.
Lendlease Breakers Coach Jo Broadbent praised the collective team effort after the game.
“The last time we faced South Australia was when we lost the WNCL title to them last year, so we came into the game with a lot of pride to play for and were keen to reset the record books a little.
“We are very happy with the win and will look to improve our team’s performance in all areas of our game. We were in a position to dominate with both ball and bat and took the foot off the pedal. SA put us under pressure by taking early wickets but we were good enough in the end to secure the points,” said Broadbent.
Not to be outdone, debutants Maisy Gibson (0/37) and Belinda Vakarewa (1/12) each had good first outings in the Breakers blue and demonstrated cool heads under pressure when both took to the crease in the dying overs to see out the game.
The Breakers haven’t had have much time to sit back and savour the win, with their next game to be played today against a young Tasmania side.
“We don’t want to go into today’s game having underestimated Tasmania. They are a young and developing side who are hungry for a win, which makes them dangerous and a little unpredictable,” said Broadbent.
The NSW Lendlease Breakers team for the game against Tasmania is: Alex Blackwell (C), Alyssa Healy, Ashleigh Gardner, Belinda Vakarewa, Lauren Smith, Maisy Gibson, Naomi Stalenberg, Nicola Carey, Rachael Haynes, Rene Farrell and Sarah Aley. Stefanie Daffara (12TH)
The match starts at 10h00am (Queensland time). Live scores and updates can be found on cricket.com.au