WBBL 05 Season Reviews: Part 1

The reason the Sixers are here, instead of playing next weekend

Another Wild Women’s Big Bash Season is 99.99% done, with only the 3 poorly scheduled finals matches to come, so that said, it’s time for me to waste your Sunday evening or Monday morning, or even Tuesday morning, depending if you’re from that planet that Ming The Merciless came from.

Sydney Sixers (5th, 7-7)

After starting the season as the usual warm favourites to win the title with the sheer star power in their line-up, the Sixers will not be featuring in the WBBL Finals for the first time ever, thanks mainly to the appearance of one lady with two names.

Ellyse Perry.

When she was there, I.E 2/3rds of the season, they were a comfortable Top 4 team with a 6-2 record, and everything was functioning normally, like Alyssa Healy clubbing bowling attacks, and Marizanne Kapp taking hat-tricks, or more accurately, Kapp-Tricks.

The moment Perry went down with that AC joint injury against the Renegades, it was absolutely no coincidence that the Sixers’ season derailed harder than a BHP train in the Pilbara.

That was to be expected- Trying to find someone to replace a world-class player like Perry on such short notice is like trying to find someone who can fill a role last played by Danny Devito.

The Sixers lost that match thanks to a last ball 6, and then proceeded to lose their next 4 matches, including losing to the Hurricanes for the first time, and after the Strikers bowled them out for 92 on Sunday, it was all over.

They did win that last game on Sunday against the Strikers, but it made absolutely no difference for the Maidens in Magenta, with the Renegades dry licking the Thunder to secure 4th place.

Although, it did cost the Strikers the minor premiership, which could be huge if the Heat win and host the final.

So thus, after the best run of any team through the first 4 seasons of the WBBL, the Sixers miss the finals, and the crowd goes mild.

Sydney Thunder (6th, 5-8-1)

Before the season began, Alex Blackwell handed over the captaincy to Rachael Haynes, which served as a precursor for Alex’s decision on her future, and they were also weakened by their 2018-19 imports in Stafanie Taylor and Harmanpreet Kaur going elsewhere, plus Nicola Carey and Maisy Gibson going to Hobart, which in part explains why they ended up here.

They did have a few positives, such as unearthing Phoebe Litchfield, who kicked off the 16-year-old revolution (Prince Andrew promptly wrecked it for everyone) in that opening match against the Sixers, and then a week later, pulled the pants down of the defending champions in the Heat with a match-winning half century.

That sparked a massive run of form for the Thunder, winning 2 narrow matches against both the Melbourne teams, and after beating the Hurricanes in Burnie to go to 4-1-1 (One of the games being wiped out by rain), things went downhill quicker than Hermann Maier in Nagano.

Hang on a minute, that was actually positive for The Hermanator.

They lost some 6 games in a row to watch their season painfully collapse into the black void of space and time, which led to Blackwell confirming her retirement, having now reached the point in life where she’s old enough to be the mother of some of her teammates.

Those are exactly my sentimonies.

In another shock, another Australian international rep in Rene Farrell confirmed she too was calling time on the Big Bash, and there was a lovely moment after the games on Sunday, when players from all four teams playing in the double header at the Junction Oval (Heat, Stars, ‘Gades, Thunder) applauded the pair off the ground.

Still, if the Thunder do need another positive from 2019, by laying an egg on Sunday, they ensured the Sixers lost all hope of sneaking into the finals.

Surely in a season where not much went right, that was as good as winning a title.

Hobart Hurricanes (7th, 4-9-1)

The Hurricanes had a mortgage on the wooden spoon last season, and they decided to remedy that with a recruitment drive that brought in Tayla Vlaeminck, Belinda Vakarewa, all-rounder Nicola Carey and tweaker Maisy Gibson, bringing huge promise of improvement.

After 2 beatings of the Stars on the opening weekend, they had immediately equalled their win total from BBL 04, and they were probably popping the champagne corks and pulling a late-nighter in celebration down on the Apple Isle.

It didn’t last very long, because the crucial point of their season was probably that 3rd game, when they held the Strikers to 113 off their 20 overs, but in a case of cold feet and some tight bowling from a good team, they still fell 3 runs short, which would have been huge for their season.

They lost the next 6 games they actually played, and the one that got rubbed out by rain against the Thunder led to the low point of their season.

Emily Smith’s ban for breaching the CA Anti-Corruption policy, thanks to an Instagram post mocking her low batting position…. which was showing the team sheet before it had officially been released.

In terms of weirdness, it’s right up there with Richard Gasquet getting a drug ban (Which he was acquitted of) for kissing a woman who had cocaine on her lips.

As I have said previously, Emily will learn her lesson from this, and in the future, make sure her illegal Instagram posts are kept to games that actually go ahead.

Despite another down season, the Hurricanes had several positives- They did avoid the spoon, which was goal 1A, Vlamenick Vakarewa (Wrong V from me there) was the leading wicket-taker of the regular season, despite effectively missing a game, and the team had a few solid victories, such as finally beating the Sixers- Perryless or not- For the first time, and absolutely thumping the Scorchers in Perth this past Saturday, when they were going flat out towards the finals.

Will they be on the up next season?

You bet.

Melbourne Stars (8th, 2-12)

The women’s edition of the Stars have always proven the complete antithesis of their male counterparts, having never made the WBBL finales, compared to the men in the Big Bash, who usually reach the finals, and then manage to lose in the sort of brutal style reserved for the Wet Bandits from Home Alone.

Last year’s Final against the Renegades was probably the equivalent of when Kevin threw a hot iron at Marv’s head.

Pre-season Ellyse ‘Junior’ Villani crossed over from Perth to serve as captain, Emma Inglis added some experience, which was exactly where the problems started- With the amount of 16 year olds and other assorted teenagers in the team like Tess Flintoff and Annabel Sutherland, you’d have thought Prince Andrew was picking their side.

And yep, I’ve now pulled off 2 Prince Andrew jokes in this post.

Through the two dozen losses, South African import Lizelle Lee was once again a major high, finishing as the team’s leading runscorer, and scoring that century in Perth against the Scorchers, the second season running she’s scored a WBBL century, leading to the Stars’ first win of the season.

In the cavalcade of retirees from this Big Bash, the Stars were represented by former captain and Australian international Kristen Beams, who confirmed in October that this would be her last season of WBBL cricket, having been with the Stars through all 5 seasons of the competition.

Unfortunately, she didn’t quite the send off that most retirees deserve, getting tonked for 14 in her one and only over in the loss to the Heat.

This season, and the last 5, have shown that it doesn’t matter who crosses over and pulls on the green, not even the recruitment of the Virgin Mary could save this team.

Categories: Cricket

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