Focus on youth in Sydney derby

Women's CricZone Staff
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Sydney Thunder secure the services of teen-sensation Phoebe Litchfield

Phoebe Litchfield is one of the four teenagers in Thunder's squad. © Sydney Thunder

Both Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder announced their 13-member squads for the opening match of the fifth edition of the Women’s Big Bash League beginning on Friday (October 18).

While both teams have a host of experienced Australian and overseas players, they have added a group of teenagers to the mix as well.

For Sixers, Alisha Bates, Stella Campbell, Maddy Darke and Emma Hughes have all been included in the squad that also comprises Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy, Ashleigh Gardner and Wrin Burns. Hayley Silver-Holmes, a fifth teenager— the youngest ever player to take the field for the Sixers at 15— is also in the mix.

With as many as five teens in the group, it is certain that at least two will make the XI come Friday.

While Marizanne Kapp has joined the group following South Africa’s tour of India, her teammate, Dane van Niekerk has not yet made the journey Down Under and was therefore not considered for selection. Lauren Cheatle, the left-arm seamer, too, was ruled out due to injury.

Thunder too has included a host of youngsters in their squad for the opening two games of the tournament. The group of Phoebe Litchfield, Kate Peterson, Hannah Darlington and Sakia Horley have all been included, while the more ‘seasoned’ teens, Rachel Trenaman and Tahlia Wilson were overlooked.

While Trenaman has been given leave by the management to focus on her studies, Wilson is recovering from a Grade One quadricep strain.

“Over the last four weeks we’ve been together I’ve been impressed by not only their skills, but their attitude and maturity,” Trevor Griffin, head coach of Thunder, said of the youngsters. “They’re all keeping the more experienced players on their toes. They’re pushing each and everyone as hard as they can. They want to be on that pitch and wearing the green of Thunder.”

The squad also includes Rachael Haynes— set to lead the squad in her first match as full-time skipper— Alex Blackwell, Rene Farrell, Rachel Priest, and Thunder’s two new recruits, Shabnim Ismail and Nida Dar.


Sydney Sixers: Sarah Aley, Alisha Bates, Erin Burns, Stella Campbell, Maddy Darke, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jodie Hicks, Emma Hughes, Marizanne Kapp, Ellyse Perry (C), Hayley Silver-Holmes, Lauren Smith.

Sydney Thunder: Samantha Bates, Alex Blackwell, Nida Dar, Hannah Darlington, Rene Farrell, Lisa Griffith, Rachael Haynes (C), Saskia Horley, Shabnim Ismail, Phoebe Litchfield, Kate Peterson, Rachel Priest, Naomi Stalenberg.