NSW Breakers captain for the Women's National Cricket League Final, Lisa Griffith, says the experience of Rene Farrell and Sarah Aley is a huge help handling the nerves ahead of the deciding match on Sunday.
Griffith joined Western Australian captain Chloe Piparo for the WNCL Final captains' call at the SCG, Saturday, and will lead the youthful Breakers side out onto North Sydney Oval on Sunday in just her fifth match as captain and her first Final.
The Final will be the last professional match for Farrell with the former Australian seamer announcing her retirement in December.
“I think we’re all pretty nervous. It really helps having Rene Farrell and Sarah Aley around,” said Griffith, 27, who fills the role of regular captain Alyssa Healy currently preparing for the T20 World Cup.
Healy, Rachael Haynes and off-spinning allrounder Ashleigh Gardner are all unavailable due to national duties.
“I’d like a dollar for every game that they’ve played together, they really help with the nerves and really help the young girls out,” said Griffith.
“It’s also a real credit to the young girls they don’t get that nervous, it’s just another day. I’m sure there will be some nerves around for both sides tomorrow, as Finals are, which is a good thing and tomorrow will be no different.”
Griffith said to send off Rene Farrell with a win is also front of mind for the squad.
“Just being super respectful of all that she has given Cricket NSW, and 100% I’d love to go out on a win with Rene and go out on a high.
“(No matter the result), I’ll be happy, I’m really proud of the team and I’m really, really grateful to be a part of it, but to go out with a win would be a super way to send Rene off.”
The 13-player squad named for the Final consists of seven teenagers, six of whom debuted this year. Seven players debuted during the season, including England International spinner Linsey Smith, the most since 1997/98.
But Griffith is confident the teenagers are up to the challenge.
“(Making this Final) is a testament to what Cricket NSW have done and also a real testament to these young girls who have stepped up all year round and hopefully it will be no different for this Final,” said Griffith.
Sixteen-year-old sensation Phoebe Litchfield is one of those young players to step up scoring 249 runs from her first eight matches for the Breakers at an average of almost 50.
“She’s stepped up all year, it’s kind of nothing new for Phoebe,” Griffith said.
Breakers Head Coach, and former Blues player Dom Thornely, has guided this young squad to the Final in his first year at the helm.
Thornely said the girls were surprisingly relaxed leading into the Final on Sunday.
“I’ve been talking about it all year, the belief of the girls is growing every day, and I think I’ve seen that this week in their preparation,” said Thornely.
“Just the discussions that they’ve had, the planning that they’ve got for the opposition, they’ve made life easy for me.”
NSW Breakers WNCL Final squad
Lisa Griffith ( c )
2019/20 WNCL Final
NSW Breakers v Western Australia
Sunday 16 February
North Sydney Oval
10.00am start. Entry is free.
Live streamed at cricket.com.au