The return of NSW Breakers fast bowler Belinda Vakarewa to the Campbelltown-Camden squad has strengthened the Ghosts ahead of the McDonald’s Women’s Premier Cricket Grand Final against Gordon on Sunday at Blacktown International Sports Park No. 2.
Vakarewa did not play in the semi-final victory over St George-Sutherland due to a side strain. She needs to pass one final fitness test to confirm her availability for the decider but is expected to play.
The 21-year-old has previously represented Australia at the 2017 Women's World Cup, where she played one match against Sri Lanka, and is also contracted with the Sydney Thunder.
Vakarewa will spearhead the Campbelltown-Camden bowling attack alongside Breakers and Australian left-arm pace bowler Lauren Cheatle.
Breakers reserve wicketkeeper Hannah Trethewy will captain the Ghosts on Sunday as the club pursues its second premiership in the top grade of Women’s Premier Cricket.
Gordon is captained by opening batter Hannah Trollip. It qualified for the limited-overs Grand Final with a 50-run win over Parramatta in its semi-final last Sunday.
The Reds are seeking to claim the Ruth Preddy Trophy for the second time in three seasons.
They defeated Sydney by eight wickets in the 2016/17 Grand Final. Saskia Horley, who was then 17, was named Player of the Match in that final courtesy of 62 not out in the successful chase.
The now 19-year-old Breakers allrounder will again be key for Gordon on Sunday.
Horley has scored 528 runs across all formats, at the impressive average of 66, as well as taking 26 wickets at a fraction under nine.
Cheatle recently made her return to One-Day International cricket for Australia during the Rose Bowl series against New Zealand.
She returned 1-27 from nine overs in the four-wicket semi-final win against the Slayers.
ACT Meteors and Melbourne Renegades batter Claire Koski is an integral member of the top order for Campbelltown-Camden.
She has played just the five matches this season but scored 364 runs at 121.3 including two centuries and two fifties.
Koski made an important 65 from 83 balls to steer the Ghosts to victory in the semi-final. The 28-year-old, who celebrated her birthday this week, will open the batting with Sydney Sixers allrounder Clara Iemma.
The skill and experience of former Breakers and Meteors allrounder Charlotte Anneveld has been key to the success of Gordon throughout the season.
The off-spinner has claimed 20 wickets, at an average of 13.3, across all formats in Premier Cricket this season, including 5-6 from 10 overs against Northern District in the final preliminary round.
The Grand Final will be umpired by International umpire Claire Polosak and Diana Venter.
In the Second Grade Grand Final at Raby Oval No. 1, minor premiers Northern District meet second-placed St George-Sutherland.
Teenager Grace Dignam will be key for Northern District in the final. She is the leading run-scorer in Second Grade with 361 runs at 60.17.
Last season Dignam led ACT/NSW Country to the Under 15 Female National Championships title.
NSW Country and St George-Sutherland leg-spinner Jaclyn Vickery is the leading wicket taker with 15 wickets from seven matches at 12.
In the Third Grade T20 Grand Final on Saturday, minor premiers St George-Sutherland meet Gordon at ANZAC Oval in Engadine.
One more preliminary round remains in the Under 18 Brewer Shield competition before finals commence next weekend.
In the Sixers Conference, the two Northern District teams, Gold and Blue, meet at Mark Taylor Oval. Sydney host Manly-Warringah and UTS North Sydney are at home to Gordon.
The final three preliminary matches in the Thunder Conference see St George-Sutherland host Penrith, Universities away to Campbelltown-Camden and Parramatta at home to Bankstown.
McDonald's Women's Premier Cricket
First Grade Grand Final
Starting at 10.00am, Blacktown International Sports Park No. 2.
Campbelltown-Camden: Hannah Trethewy (c), Kayla Burton, Dharmini Chauhan, Lauren Cheatle, Stephanie Ellsmore, Isabella Greig, Clara Iemma, Claire Koski, Yardley Polsen, Kelly Rowlings, Belinda Vakarewa, Hannah Darlington.
Gordon: Hannah Trollip (c), Charlotte Anneveld, Isabella Fitzgibbon, Elizabeth Mair, Emma Doutreband, Saskia Horley, Heidi Cheadle, Erica Cox, Chrissie Blackadder, Moana Mclelland, Sophie MacMahon, Shannon Heath.
Umpires: Claire Polosak, Diana Venter.