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Premier Firsts one-day competition kicks off this weekend
Date of Event Victorian Premier Cricket: Wed Oct 5, 2016 3:04PM
Meg Lanning will lead the Mustangs as they attempt to claim a historic four-peat
Sunday 9th October sees the start of the 2016/17 Women's Premier Firsts one-day competition with Prahran hosting Dandenong, last year's runners-up Melbourne playing EMP at the Albert Ground while 2015/16 title-holders Box Hill travel to Plenty Valley.
This season sees a number of new and returning overseas players while three have joined Victorian clubs from interstate.
Prahran have added pace to their attack by signing Sussex's Tara Norris who was named their U19 bowler of the year and jointly the senior XI's players' player with England's Georgia Elwiss. Norris claimed eight wickets at 36.13, including best figures for the Firsts of 2-12 with impressive scalps of former England skipper Charlotte Edwards for one and England all-rounder Laura Marsh for 23. Maintaining their Middlesex link for the third season, Naomi Dattani will return looking to build on the progress she has made with the bat over the past year which led to a call-up to train with the England Women's Academy. She had a good start to the season at county-level and then had a top season at Finchley, scoring 426 runs in just eight innings at 60.86 including a top score of 143 and an unbeaten 92 in the National Club Final. Captaining the side to a five-wicket win and the title.
The True Blues also have a number of State and WBBL players in Emma Inglis (captain), Jess Cameron - reigning Una Paisley medallist following her 578 runs at a remarkable average of 192.67 from only eight matches - Alana King, Kath Hempenstall and Erica Kershaw who has moved from Dandenong.
Dandenong have made several signings in the off-season notably former Southern Stars' captain and current ACT Meteors player Jodie Fields. She will certainly add a lot to the team both on the field and off in terms of experience and guidance for the young players in the squad. Their second interstate signing is bowler Tahlya Sleep from WA.
Following good seasons last year this pair of spinning all-rounders Sophie Molineux and Chelsea Moscript will aim to replicate their success as they aim for finals this year. Molineux captained the victorious U18 Victorian side last season and had a good inaugural WBBL with the Renegades and Moscript took 22 wickets at 17.05 for the Lions in the 2015/16 season. The club will also look to VicSpirit stalwart, Sarah Elliott, to perform in their hunt for finals. Having scored 448 runs at an average of 56 and picking up 16 wickets at 13.13 last season, it is clear Elliott still has much to offer. Dandenong will also be hoping experienced opening bowler, Emma Gallagher, who claimed 23 wickets at just 14.78 can continue her form.
EMP have made two club and one overseas signing in Makinley Blows (formerly Box Hill), Jenny Taffs (formerly Melbourne and ACT) and Maryam Omar, captain of Kuwait, an attacking middle-order batter and useful off-spinner, who will likely make their debut for the club's First XI on Sunday against MCC. Blows had a strong U18 season for Victoria and has been awarded her first VicSpirit contract. She will hope to impress with both bat and ball as she looks to play in her first WNCL game.
The T20 Premiers have retained their Premier Firsts squad which includes a number of State and WBBL representatives; Molly Strano, Emma Kearney and Kristen Beams. Leg-spinner Beams also plays for the Southern Stars and returns from a terrific tour of Sri Lanka where she claimed 13 wickets at an average of just 5.92 in four ODIs. This included her best ODI figures of 4-15 and in the sole T20 she also took a career-best of 3-11.
Melbourne had a breakthrough 2015/16 season, making both the T20 and One-Day finals and just missing out on the 50-over Flag. This year they will be hoping to go one better and have appointed a new coach in Bryan Harper who has coached both St Kilda and MCC men's sides.
Natalie Plane played a key role in the Demons' finals berth last season and will be hoping she can help the club go one better. Plane is one of MCC's strike bowlers and claimed 21 wickets at 19.57 last year.
Box Hill will once again be skippered by the Southern Stars captain and ICC ranked number one batter in both ODIs and T20s in the world, Meg Lanning. In her absence her sister, Anna, will likely captain - a duty she held in last season's One-Day final, leading the Mustangs to their third consecutive title. She is coming off the back of a good season in England where she played for Warwickshire making 289 runs at an average of 28.90, with an impressive top score of 83 not out off just 58 deliveries in a T20 against Lancashire. Zoe Griffiths and Hayleigh Brennan are up and coming players who had impressive seasons for the Mustangs last year and will be looking to build on those performances. Griffiths showed she can play a mature, controlled innings when she hit a crucial 49 in last season's Grand Final, while Brennan has signed her first full VicSpirit contract and the pace bowler has already shown she can remain calm after pressure. She bowled the last over in the 2015/16 Grand Final which the Mustangs won by just five runs. All-rounder Cassie Brock also had an impressive season accumulating 411 runs at 34.25 and taking 27 wickets at 15.19, and will be hoping to contribute to another Flag for the successful club.
The reigning Premiers have signed overseas all-rounder Georgia Hennessy who plays for Warwickshire and represented Western Storm in the inaugural Kia Super League. Hennessy claimed 11 wickets at 19.55 and made 288 runs at 24.00 for Warwickshire this year.
Plenty Valley have a new coach at the helm in Kim Littlejohn - former head coach of Melbourne Uni CC - and he has already made his intentions and aims for the club clear by signing three overseas players. They are Laura Crofts of Warwickshire, Mariko Hill Hong Kong's skipper and previous White Ferns' player Kate Broadmore. Experienced seamer Kathryn Burns has moved from WA and should give Plenty Valley more stability in their attack.
Renegades and VicSpirit all-rounder Kirsty Lamb will once again lead Plenty Valley. With Littlejohn's declared aim of reaching finals in the next two years, their partnership could decide the club's success.
All round one matches will be played on Sunday, beginning at 11am.
Written by Georgia Isaac
Last updated: Friday October 14, 2016 6:18PM
Author: Peter Binns
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