This week sees a clash between the first round of the Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL) and round two of the club season. It will give an opportunity for some of the Reserve players to try their hand in their club’s First XI while testing the strength and depth of the women’s game.
The first match of the weekend is between Dandenong and Plenty Valley at Greaves Reserve which will see both sides looking for their first win of the season. Plenty Valley will be without Kirsty Lamb who is on VicSpirit duty but it was their Kiwi signing - Kate Broadmore who shone last week. Broadmore saw the Bats post a target that looked competitive and would have been had their opposition not included the number one batter in the world and in form Meg Lanning. Broadmore came in at four when the Bats were in strife but showed her international experience by staying calm and staying at the crease till the end finishing unbeaten on 88 - an innings which included eight fours. If she can repeat her heroics, ideally forming a solid partnership, then they have a good chance of securing a win. Plenty Valley will also have two First XI debutants; opening bowler Jessica Hulett and middle-order batter Sophie Day.
Dandenong struggled against an experienced-Prahran last weekend losing by eight wickets after being dismissed for just 106. With openers Sophie Molineux and Sarah Elliott on State duty the Lions will be hoping all-rounder Chelsea Moscript can successfully fill an opening slot. With ball in hand Dandenong look stronger. Emma Gallagher’s pace and Moscript’s spin have often proved key to the side’s success. Last season Moscript claimed 22 wickets at 17.05 while Gallagher picked up 23 at 14.78.
EMP host Prahran on Sunday at Greenvale and though they will be without State players; Kristen Beams, Makinley Blows, Emma Kearney, Emily Smith and Molly Strano they have proven before they have a strong squad which is not just reliant on their State and international representatives. Chloe Rafferty was named the Victorian Premier women’s player of the week after claiming an impressive, match-turning 5-38 from 8.3 overs against Melbourne. EMP will hope she is can bring that form through to Sunday’s fixture against the ladder leaders. With ball in hand the club also has Emily McIntyre who claimed an impressive 31 wickets at 12.45 last season and is a stalwart of the club, having helped secure a number of wins over the years.
Prahran will be without skipper Emma Inglis, Jess Cameron, Alana King (on VicSpirit duties) and Nicola Hancock (representing ACT) as well as their second English import - Naomi Dattani - who is yet to arrive Down Under due to delays with her visa. In Inglis’ absence it will be opening bowler Kathleen Hempenstall who will lead the True Blues against EMP as they aim for their second win of the season. Last weekend it was Hancock who excelled with the ball taking 3-18 but Prahran will be hoping Annabel Sutherland who claimed 2-7 against Dandenong and Tara Norris who picked up 1-11 can step up to the mark and fill the boots of the absent players. Prahran will also see the return of Bronwyn Daws who is a useful, accurate bowler and across Firsts and Seconds last season claimed 18 wickets at 16.67 including 5-22 against Ringwood.
Box Hill host Melbourne as they look for their second win of the season but will be without Meg and Anna Lanning as well as Hayleigh Brennan who are all on State duty. In the first round they secured an impressive ten-wicket victory over Plenty Valley after a fantastic 215-run partnership from captain Meg Lanning (126* off 110) and Warwickshire and Western Storm all-rounder Georgia Hennessy (76* off 100). In Lanning’s absence the Mustangs will look to Hennessy to lead with the bat, most likely alongside Cassie Brock who made a century in the third round against the Demons last year. The two all-rounders are likely to play key roles in the match if Box Hill is to remain unbeaten.
Melbourne is the one side who is able to pick their XI from a full squad and considering they came close to pulling off a surprise win over EMP in the first round, they should be confident heading into their game against Box Hill. Opener Amy Vine played extremely well for her 98 - an innings which included 14 fours - and will hope to carry that form through to this match. Wicketkeeper Kylie Crowley also had a good knock making 47 before she was stumped which brought Melbourne’s first-wicket partnership of 77 to an end. With the ball, opening bowlers Tegan Orwin and Natalie Plane finished nine-over spells with 1-36 and 1-33 respectively and will be looking to claim the in-form Hennessy early.
With a number of players making their First XI debuts it will be exciting to see how they perform and whether they can stake a claim for a permanent spot. As many clubs will have a combination of their regular Firsts and Reserves XI players it will be interesting to see if there are any unexpected results and who will lead the ladder at the end of the round.
Written by Georgia Isaac