The twentieth edition of the Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL) got underway today, with the first nine matches of the competition taking place in Brisbane and Perth this weekend.
The structure of the WNCL has changed this year to complement the introduction of the all-new T20 Women’s Big Bash League, which begins in December and is aligned to the established eight-team men’s KFC T20 Big Bash League competition.
The WNCL will be played as three mini carnivals throughout October and November, with the two top-finishing sides playing off for the Ruth Preddey Cup on 28 November.
The WNCL will continue to build on its reputation as one of the leading domestic women’s competitions in the world with a number of high quality international players taking part this coming season.
England trio Sarah Taylor (SA), Laura Marsh (NSW) and Dani Wyatt (VIC) will join a host of New Zealand’s top international players, including Sarah McGlashan (ACT), Sophie Devine (SA) and Lea Tahuhu (ACT), who are all taking part.
There has also been more movement than ever before between teams by local players. Many of the world champion Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars will suit up in new colours this season, including Sarah Coyte (NSW to SA), Erin Osborne (NSW to ACT), Julie Hunter (VIC to TAS) and Rene Farrell (ACT to NSW), with WA securing a trio of top-order batters from Victoria – Nicole Bolton, Elyse Villani and Jess Cameron.
Cricket Australia’s Head of Cricket Operations Sean Cary said: “It’s an exciting time for women’s cricket in Australia and the WNCL plays an important role in that.
“The competition is as strong as it has ever been and its ability to attract top-class international players is testament to that.”
Since the WNCL’s inception New South Wales has won 17 of the 19 titles and will this season be vying for its 11th straight championship. The WNCL was first played in 1996-97.
Prior to this, the Australian National Women’s Championship, which began in 1930-31, was played as an annual two-week tournament for women, which rotated around the states.