Sixteen-year-old NSW Breakers and Australian Under 19 batter Phoebe Litchfield headlines the preliminary Under 18 and 15 Female ACT/NSW Country squads announced for the 2019/20 season.

Litchfield, who received her first Breakers contract in May, was one of 20 cricketers selected in the Under 18 squad. Seventeen Under 15 players were chosen.

Each squad will form the basis of selection for the Under 15 and 18 squads to compete at the National Championships for each age division next season.  

The recent Under 14 and 17 State Challenge carnivals held at Raby Sports Complex in April were a key selection trial for both squads as they were for the NSW Metro squads.

Cricket NSW Female Talent Manager, Steve Jenkin, said he was happy with the quality of both squads with many new cricketers proceeding through the system.

“(ACT/NSW Country) lost all of their players from Under 15s last season, so they now have to rebuild”, said Jenkin.

“We saw some talented players out at the State Challenge, so we’re pretty happy with what they’re going to produce. A few of the regional coaches have also identified some players that are new to their region.”

Litchfield represented the Cricket Australia XI at the Under 18 National Championships last season. She was the leading run-scorer compiling 348 runs at an average of 43.5.

The opening batter, who hails from Orange in Central West NSW, also made her maiden century in her first season of Women’s Premier Cricket for Parramatta at just 15 years of age.

She joins 10 players who were part of the ACT/NSW Country squad that made the T20 and Limited-Overs Final of the Under 18 National Championships in 2018/19.

Riverina allrounder Gabbie Sutcliffe is one of those players and led ACT/NSW Country to both finals. The others include top order batters Alisha Bates, Anika Learoyd, Lara Graham, Sarah Young, allrounder Jessica Davidson, Allison McGrath, Abbey Taylor, spinner Hannah Faux and seamer Olivia Osborne.

Graham and Sutcliffe are co-captains of the extended Under 18 squad for 2019/20.

Opening batter Grace Dignam has also been selected in the Under 18 squad. She was the leading run scorer in the Women’s Premier Cricket Second Grade competition last season playing for Northern District.

Dignam scored 361 runs at 60.17 including one century and three fifties.

Litchfield, Dignam, wrist spinners Jade Allen, Kayla Burton and allrounder Isabella Greig were all selected in the Under 18 squad and represented the Cricket Australia XI at the nationals last season. 

ACT/NSW Country also made the final of the Under 15 crown last season. It lost to NSW Metro for the second time in an underage final during 2018/19.

Metro also prevailed in the Limited-Overs final of the Under 18 nationals. 

ACT/ NSW Country Under 18
Alisha Bates Newcastle/ Central Coast
Grace Dignam Newcastle/ Central Coast
Keisha Dowsett North Coastal
Hannah Faux North Coastal
Jessica Davidson Central North
Olivia Osborne North Coastal
Kayla Burton Greater Illawarra
Clare Levings ACT/ Southern Districts
Jade Allen ACT/ Southern Districts
Ebony Hoskins Riverina
Deni Baker Central North
Gabbie Sutcliffe ( c ) Riverina
Abby Taylor Newcastle/ Central Coast
Lara Graham ( c ) Central North
Phoebe Litchfield Western
Allison McGrath Newcastle/ Central Coast
Sarah Young Greater Illawarra
Isabella Greig ACT/ Southern Districts
Anika Learoyd North Coastal
Maddie McGuigan Newcastle/Central Coast

ACT/NSW Country Under 15
Siena Eve Newcastle/Central Coast
Kate McTaggett Newcastle/Central Coast
Vanessa Simpson Central Northern
Jamie- Lee Woolfe North Coastal
Alex Marvos North Coastal
Perri Nash Riverina
Charlie Lamont Riverina
Kaitlin Logan Riverina
Grace Lyons ACT/Southern Districts
Mia Phelps ACT/Southern Districts
Rosie Blain Riverina
Alice Caldow Riverina
Aimee Longhurst Western
India Bellhouse Greater Illawarra
Emily Hoskins North Coastal
Ashlie Stapleton Newcastle/Central Coast
Jemma Pollock ACT/ Southern Districts