Five new faces have received their first NSW Breakers contract including four current Australian Under 19 representatives.
Sydney Sixers 15-year-old allrounder Hayley Silver-Holmes, fast bowler Stella Campbell, 16, wicketkeeper-batter Maddy Darke, 18, and opening batter Phoebe Litchfield, 16, have all received contracts in the 17-player squad named for 2019/20.
Like the four teenagers, Sixers off-spinning allrounder Erin Burns also receives her first contract at the age of 30.
Burns, who originally hails from Wollongong, joins the Breakers after having played 48 matches in the Women’s National Cricket League for both Tasmania and, most recently, the ACT scoring more than 1,000 runs and taking 33 wickets.
Women's ICC T20 International Player of the Year for 2018, Alyssa Healy, will enter her second season as captain.
Opening batter Rachael Haynes and allrounder Ashleigh Gardner join Healy as the three Cricket Australia contracted players in the squad.
It signals a new era for the Breakers after claiming their 20th WNCL title in 23 seasons in 2018/19. A number of players depart NSW for family reasons or to seek new opportunities.
Belinda Clark Medallist, and world class allrounder, Ellyse Perry will join Victoria to be with her husband Australian Rugby Union player Matt Toomua, who is contracted to the Melbourne Rebels.
Australian allrounder Nicola Carey, leg-spinner Maisy Gibson and pace bowler Belinda Vakarewa have all joined Tasmania.
Mikayla Hinkley relocates to Queensland for new opportunities, allrounder Carly Leeson has likewise made the move to the Australian Capital Territory and wicketkeeper Hannah Trethewy was delisted.
In total, six current Australian Under 19 representatives earned Breakers contracts including wicketkeeper-batter Tahlia Wilson and leg-spinning allrounder Rachel Trenaman.
General Manager of Cricket Performance at Cricket NSW, David Moore, said it was very exciting to be able to call upon that calibre of young cricketer to make some important replacements.
“They’re all Australian Under 19 players, they’ve all performed well in Premier Cricket in NSW, and they’re all very young and have they’re whole career ahead of them,” said Moore.
Darke was testament to that. She scored her first three centuries in Women’s Premier Cricket last season, in successive weeks, and finished the campaign with 414 runs at an average of 82.8.
When her six matches in the First and Second Grade Combined T20 competition are added, her tally soars to 596 at 74.5.
Litchfield also made her maiden First Grade century last season at just 15. Silver-Holmes became the youngest ever WBBL debutant for the Sixers at the same age.
Silver-Holmes, Campbell, Litchfield and Darke all progressed through the Cricket NSW Pathway system.
“The women’s pathway has always been a strength of Cricket NSW,” said Moore.
“The fact that we’ve been able to call on these players, through the hard work of Lisa Sthalekar, Leah Poulton and now Steve Jenkin (current Female Talent Manager), that has stood us in good stead and allowed us to stay at the top of (women’s cricket in Australia).”
Last season, Burns collected 10 wickets at 19.2 for the ACT Meteors; her best with the ball throughout her WNCL career to date.
Moore said her experience was going to be phenomenal for the squad.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to have her as a Breaker at last.
“When you lose the calibre of player that we’ve lost, they’re always extremely hard to replace.
“We’re not looking to replace those people, we’re just looking to get some more experience in and Erin has done a good job during her WNCL career.
“We’ve got her (and), Rene Farrell, Sarah Aley; experienced players when the Australian players aren’t there, and of course Gardner, Healy and Haynes.
“(There’s) some really highly experienced players that we can call on to ensure that we perform well at that level.”
2019/20 NSW Breakers squad
Alyssa Healy ( c ) *
Ashleigh Gardner *
Rachael Haynes *
*Cricket Australia contracted players