Australian Under 19 representatives Tahlia Wilson and Saskia Horley are two potential debutants named in the 13-player New South Wales Breakers’ squad for rounds three and four of the Women’s National Cricket League at Blacktown International Sports Park No. 1 on Friday and Sunday.
Former Australian seam bowler Rene Farrell will captain the Breakers for the first time in the two matches against Western Australia and Victoria. She stands in for skipper Alyssa Healy, who is in the West Indies with the Australian team preparing for the Women’s World T20.
Healy is among five Breakers selected to represent Australia at the World T20. Allrounders Ellyse Perry, Ashleigh Gardner and Nicola Carey, as well as prolific run-scorer Rachael Haynes, are unavailable for rounds three and four of the WNCL.
The match against Western Australia on Friday may also be very significant for Breakers allrounder Lisa Griffith. She may play her first WNCL game in eight seasons.
Wilson, 19, and Horley, 18, along with Mikayla Hinkley, 20, and wicketkeeper Hannah Trethewy, 19, are the four changes from the 13-player squad named for rounds one and two of the WNCL on the Gold Coast in late September.
Farrell said it was an exciting time for both Wilson and Horley as they wait in anticipation of a potential debut.
“You never forget the moment when you receive your first cap, so if either of those girls have the opportunity to do so, especially on home soil in front of their friends and family, I think it’ll be very exciting.” Farrell said.
“Hopefully the girls get a go, not sure what the team looks like at the moment, it’s still very hard and everyone is competing for a spot.”
The Breakers won one of their opening two fixtures in September. They emphatically defeated Tasmania by 186 runs and narrowly went down by one wicket in a thrilling match against Queensland.
Despite the loss the Breakers are on top of the table thanks to the double bonus point victory over Tasmania.
Farrell claimed best figures in the WNCL for 20 years in the loss to Queensland, 6-17 from nine overs.
Wilson and Horley are among four teenagers in the squad for the two matches including Australian Under 19 team mate and captain Rachel Trenaman, 17.
“There’s a lot of younger girls within the group, and it’s really exciting to feed off their energy,” Farrell said.
The stand-in captain said while missing the five Australian players was a big loss, she was impressed to see some of the younger players in the squad step up to fill that gap.
“Maisy Gibson and Naomi Stalenberg (are among a number of players) that have really embraced being the older girls within the squad,” Farrell said.
“(It’s important to) see them mature and grow for when the (Australian) girls are away down the track as well.
“I think they have really stood up in thinking about the game which is really important for these upcoming games.”
Breakers’ quick Lauren Cheatle, 20, was one of three players in the squad who toured with Australia A to India during October. She was joined by Stalenberg and fast bowler Belinda Vakarewa on that tour.
During the intervening period since the Breakers last match against Tasmania, Griffith starred for the Otago Sparks in the New Zealand T20 Super Smash and joined Wilson as one of two Breakers involved in the competition.
Wilson played for the Auckland Hearts as a wicketkeeper, batter.
Griffith was dynamic with the ball across her four matches for the Sparks. She claimed six scalps including best figures of 3-10.
Play commences at 10.00am at Blacktown International Sports Park No. 1 against Western Australia on Friday.
NSW Breakers squad
Rene Farrell (c)
*Final XI to be named at the toss