The NSW Breakers will defend their Women’s National Cricket League title at North Sydney Oval on February 16 despite losing to Western Australia on Thursday.
The reigning WNCL champions earned the right to host the final after finishing on top of the table and will meet WA again in the play-off. The Breakers will be chasing their 21st championship in the 24-year history of the league.
In a dramatic last day of regular WNCL competition, WA began in second place but was leap-frogged by Queensland, which was awarded two points for a washout against South Australia.
Needing to win to make the final, WA scored 6/227 in 46.5 overs chasing the Breakers’ 6/223 from the full 50 overs.
This left the Breakers on top of the table with 26 points, just one point ahead of WA and three points ahead of Queensland.
It has been a wonderful effort for the Breakers to continue their unbroken run of making every WNCL final given the significant turn-over of players, which includes world class allrounder Ellyse Perry moving to Melbourne.
Four Breakers players, captain Alyssa Healy, Rachael Haynes, Ashleigh Gardner and Erin Burns, are all on national duty.
The Breakers have played seven debutants this season, including two last Tuesday and another of Thursday when young England spinner Linsey Smith made her debut in place of the injured Lauren Smith.
Promoted to number three, Naomi Stalenberg made an aggressive 86 to set up the Breakers' innings after being sent into bat.
And 16-year-old Phoebe Litchfield continued her impressive first season, making an unbeaten 43 from 41 balls.
The Breakers reduced WA to 2/18 but half centuries to Chloe Piparo (51), Player of the Match Nicole Bolton (53) and Megan Banting (57 not out) saw WA home.
In her penultimate match before retirement Rene Farrell was again the pick of the bowlers, claiming 3-25 from 8.5 overs.