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Rene Farrell, the former Australia fast bowler, announced her retirement from all cricket following Sydney Thunder’s final game of the fifth season of the Women’s Big Bash League against Melbourne Renegades on Sunday (December 1). She retires as the club’s highest wicket taker— and the third highest overall— with 79 scalps in 66 matches.

Having represented Australia on 101 occasions, the fast bowler retires as one of the most respected bowlers in the league. In her final game, she finished with figures of 0 for 33 and remained unconquered on 14 in Thunder’s unsuccessful chase.

At the conclusion of the match, Farrell was invited by Alex Blackwell to join her walk through the guard of honour formed by the four teams— Thunder, Renegades, Brisbane Heat and Melbourne Stars— at Junction Oval. It was an act that left her visibly emotional.

“It was lovely of ‘Al’ to invite me to enjoy that moment . . . very special,” said Farrell. “My reputation is gone now, I had a few tears on TV, but it is special.”

Blackwell said she was happy to share the spotlight with her teammate who has played a huge role in Thunder’s success over the last five seasons.

“I couldn’t have that send off without sharing it with her,” Blackwell said. “She’s been an absolute legend of the game; really valuable – especially in T20.

“She’s a big loss, a wonderful character. She’s been an incredible servant of the game and it’s easy to get emotional when you think of her contribution.”

Despite her retirement from international cricket and the WBBL, Farrell will play out the Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL) season for New South Wales.

“I still have 50-overs cricket with the NSW Breakers,” she said.  “Hopefully I can go out on a high there like we did for Alex’s career and winning that [after announcing her retirement from state cricket last year].

“I have a bit of cricket left, [but this send off with Sydney Thunder] was really special.”

Chris Botherway, Sydney Thunder’s acting general manager, paid tribute to Farrell, saying she was someone who would be remembered for her quick wit, warmth towards her teammates and fighting spirit.

“Rene Farrell is a well-loved member of Sydney Thunder, and her ability to instill confidence in her teammates with her bright – but fiercely competitive – nature is a rare gift,”  he said. “Just as we praised Alex Blackwell for helping to shape the character of this club, we afford the same tribute to Rene. Her contribution to the success and culture of Sydney Thunder is impossible to measure.”

“She is also an important figure in our history, being the first signing the club announced and having a starring role in our WBBL|01 triumph.

“Rene was signed because of the many positive aspects it was thought she could bring to Thunder. Anyone who knows her will testify she exceeded all expectations.”

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