The Sunshine Coast Scorchers after the Jodie Fields Shield title win. © Queensland Cricket

The Sunshine Coast Scorchers will enter a team in the Katherine Raymont Shield for 2020-21, which will mean that the expansion of the Queensland Premier Cricket First Grade Women’s Competition will continue.

The Scorchers are the third club in three years to enter the Katherine Raymont Shield following the joining of Ipswich/Logan in 2018-19 and a combined Wynnum-Manly/Redlands last season. They join Western Suburbs, the University of Queensland, Valley, Gold Coast and Sandgate-Radcliffe to make the eight-team competition for the season.

Sunshine Coast had won back-to-back premierships in the past two seasons of the Jodie Fields Shield, Queensland Premier Cricket’s Second Grade Women’s competition. Following these, they were promoted to first grade.

Ashley Renouf, Sunshine Coast men’s first grade stalwart and Queensland Academy of Sport representative, will coach the Scorchers in their maiden Katherine Raymont Shield campaign. Renouf also coached Queensland’s female side at this year’s National Indigenous Cricket Championships.

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“Bringing the Scorchers into first grade is a great opportunity for female cricketers in the Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay regions to reach their potential and is reflective of the growth women’s cricket has experienced in recent years,” said Bennett King, Queensland Cricket General Manager of Performance, Pathways and Coaching.

“Importantly, it means homegrown talent can remain on the Sunshine Coast to play premier cricket. The success of the Scorchers in winning back-to-back Jodie Fields Shields has been driven by the performances of underage representative players such as Tara Staines, Taylor Stumer and Lucy Hamilton who all played for the Queensland Under 15 team and can now test themselves at a higher level.”

“Full credit must go to Sunshine Coast President John Hope and the entire Scorchers club who have worked tirelessly in developing their female teams and talent to bring this opportunity to life.”

John Hope, Sunshine Coast Cricket Association President, has said that this elevation would help an important role in retaining talent in the region.

“Sunshine Coast Cricket is proud that our young Scorchers have earned promotion to the Katherine Raymont Shield Competition after two successful seasons in the Jodie Fields Shield. Our players will now have exposure to the state’s top level of female competition,” he said.

“The continuing mission has been to establish pathways whereby any young Sunshine Coast player, male or female, can learn our sport through a local club, move into senior ranks and progress to the highest levels without leaving home. This demonstrates the reality of our ambition, and we are grateful to Premier Cricket for the wonderful opportunity.”

Lilly Mills, Courtney Sippel and Beth Mooney are some of those from the Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay regions to play for Queensland Fire and Brisbane Heat.