Allrounder Lisa Griffith will lead a 13-player NSW Breakers squad, comprising five potential debutants, travelling to Adelaide for the start of their Women’s National Cricket League title defence on Sunday.
Griffith, 27, will deputise as captain in the absence of Alyssa Healy, currently in the West Indies with the victorious Australian Women’s team including Breakers Rachael Haynes, Ashleigh Gardner and newly-contracted Erin Burns.
Four of the five possible debutants are teenagers. Allrounder Hayley Silver-Holmes, 16, batter Phoebe Litchfield, also 16, 17-year-old pace bowler Stella Campbell and off-spinner Saskia Horley, 19, could all make their debut in the opening match against South Australia at Karen Rolton Oval, Sunday.
Sydney Sixers leg-spinner Jodie Hicks is the other possible debutant. She has previously played five WNCL matches for the ACT Meteors.
The Breakers depart for Adelaide on Friday and play their opening two matches against South Australia then Victoria on Tuesday at Park 25.
Silver-Holmes, Litchfield and Campbell were among five players to receive their first Breakers contracts in May along with wicketkeeper-batter Maddy Darke, 18, and Burns.
Darke was ineligible for selection due to a stress fracture in her foot.
The record for most NSW debutants in one Women’s match is four. On 5 January 2011, Australian allrounder Nicola Carey, Kath Koschel, Hannah Trollip and Kate Waetford all made their debut at the Adelaide Oval against South Australia.
After making her first appearance for the Breakers in eight seasons last season, Griffith will become the 29th woman to captain New South Wales on Sunday.
Despite missing four Australian players, the squad comprises four past Australian representatives, seam bowlers Rene Farrell, Sarah Aley, Lauren Cheatle and allrounder Naomi Stalenberg.
New Breakers head coach Dominic Thornely said the squad is an amazing opportunity to reveal the next generation of Australian cricketers.
“It is exciting to see the absolute talent that is going to Adelaide, with all the young girls in this group, it represents another evolution for NSW Breakers cricket,” said Thornely.
He said that the choice of Griffith as stand-in captain was part of a long-term vision.
“We definitely understand that there will most likely be a reduction in international players playing WNCL cricket going forward.
“Both Aley and Farrell have been huge contributors to NSW cricket. We want them to flourish towards the end of their careers and concentrate on what they have done so wonderfully well in the past.
“Lisa has been amazing the last few years in her leadership in and around our group.
“Her maturity is incredible and she’s a very inspirational person. Tactically very aware of the game. Very modern in her preparation."
Silver-Holmes became the youngest debutant for the Sixers last season when she made her first Big Bash League appearance at just 15.
The seam bowling allrounder and Campbell both signed their first professional contracts with the Sixers last year.
In recent seasons, Silver-Holmes, Campbell and Litchfield have all impressed at various underage championships.
Litchfield was the leading run-scorer at the Female Under 18 National Championships in 2018/19. She made 348 runs at an average of 43.5 representing the Cricket Australia XI.
At 15, Litchfield scored her first century in the top grade of Women’s Premier Cricket last season opening the batting for Parramatta where she plays alongside Silver-Holmes, the club captain.
Campbell and Silver-Holmes were part of the NSW Metro team that claimed the One-Day title at the Under 18 National Championships in Victoria.
Horley also impressed in Women’s Premier Cricket last season. The off-spinning allrounder scored 528 runs at 66 and claimed 26 wickets in 13 matches for Gordon, across the One-Day and T20 formats.
NSW Breakers WNCL squad
Lisa Griffith ( c )