Sport Comment: It’s time for standalone WBBL finals

23:35  04 february  2018
23:35  04 february  2018 Source:   theroar.com.au

Sixers go top of WBBL with Strikers win

  Sixers go top of WBBL with Strikers win A blistering Alyssa Healy ton and bowler Sarah Coyte's stunning return have helped the Sydney Sixers to beat the Adelaide Strikers to go top of the WBBL table. Alyssa Healy's spectacular maiden WBBL century helped has catapulted the Sydney Sixers to a seven-wicket win over the Adelaide Strikers and to the top of the points table.After the Strikers had posted a competitive 5-149 off their 20 overs on Saturday afternoon at Sydney's Hurstville Oval, Healy smoked 13 boundaries and three sixes in her 106 off just 66 deliveries.She dominated the Sixers' run chase, achieved with four balls to spare.

It was also announced that a Christmas eve match - featuring Sydney Thunder and Hobart Hurricanes - will be played at the Meanwhile, McConnie also confirmed that a stand - alone final for the WBBL was a step towards holding the tournament independent of the Big Bash League in the 2019-20 season.

Coyte returned to the WBBL after taking some time away from the game to deal with anxiety and anorexia. That won’t be a problem this year, with the decision by Cricket Australia to have its first standalone final , hosted by the top-ranked team as a lunch fixture heading into the third day of the

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When I left North Sydney Oval at the conclusion of WBBL03 opening weekend, I did so feeling buzzed for a massive summer of cricket ahead.

Following the conclusion of a successful Ashes series for the Australian Women’s Cricket team, the 8725 people that joined me through the gates during opening weekend had a real hunger for the women’s game and to cheer on players like Ellyse Perry, Elyse Villani, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachel Haynes, Kristen Beams and Alex Blackwell – all names which are popular and recognised in Australian sport.

Molineux stars in Renegades WBBL win

  Molineux stars in Renegades WBBL win Sophie Molineux contributed personal bests with both bat and ball to help the Melbourne Renegades to a hard-fought WBBL win over the Perth Scorchers. The Melbourne Renegades have kept their WBBL finals aspirations alive after downing the Perth Scorchers by four wickets.Set a relatively modest 125 for victory, the Renegades made hard work of the chase, achieving victory with just four deliveries left.The Renegades looked in complete control while Sophie Molineux was belting the Scorchers to all parts of Camberwell Sports Ground.

It is set be a lunch- time fixture leading into the third day of the January day-night men' s Test between Australia and Sri Lanka in Brisbane. "For the first time ever we are moving the WBBL finals to standalone fixtures separate to the men' s competition, in a move that is sure to please players, clubs

WBBL final hosted by top-ranked team on Australia DayAlmost double number of live matches compared to last season. It ’ s time for women’s elite cricket to have its own window and we’re excited about that happening.” View more comments .

It wasn’t just people watching at North Sydney Oval that demonstrated how much of an appetite there is to watch women’s cricket.

Over the weekend, more than one million people tuned in to watch on television, with the game between the Sydney Sixers and the Melbourne Stars peaking at 629,000 viewers on Channel Ten.

And the cricket certainly did not disappoint.

In the game between the Sydney Thunder and the Melbourne Renegades, the Thunder became the first WBBL team to score 200 runs. This total was later eclipsed by the Sixers in their game against the Stars, where the team made 242 thanks largely to Ashleigh Gardner who scored the fastest half-century and then century in WBBL history. Her hundred came off just 47 balls and included nine 4s and ten 6s.

Hurricanes down Stars in WBBL nail-biter

  Hurricanes down Stars in WBBL nail-biter Hayley Matthews has starred with the bat then held her nerve with the ball to help the Hobart Hurricanes to a two-run WBBL win over the Melbourne Stars. The Hobart Hurricanes have ended a forgettable WBBL campaign on a high, with a thrilling two-run win over the Melbourne Stars at the MCG.After starring with the bat and top-scoring with 44 in the Hurricanes' 6-130 on Sunday, West Indies import Hayley Matthews held her nerve with the ball in a tense chase by the Stars, with Melbourne captain Kristen Beams needing four to win off the last ball.

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Sophie Molineux has won plenty of fans in a short time and it seems the best is yet to come for the spin-bowling allrounder from Bairnsdale. Opening weekend in Melbourne and standalone finals key features of Rebel WBBL |04 fixture.

All of this contributed to an opening weekend and a summer that started with a bang.

Unfortunately, the summer could not have ended in any more of a stark contrast – rather than going out with a bang, the WBBL ended with a fizzle and it had nothing to do with the quality of the cricket played between the Sixers and the Perth Scorchers in the final.

The Sixers were exceptional in the field and demonstrated again why they have been the dominant team this summer.

Sarah Coyte and Alyssa Healy of the Sydney Sixers celebrate the dismissal of Elyse Villani from the Perth Scorchers. © AAP Image/David Mariuz Sarah Coyte and Alyssa Healy of the Sydney Sixers celebrate the dismissal of Elyse Villani from the Perth Scorchers. Let’s talk about Sarah Coyte, who in just her fourth game for the Sixers this summer (after being brought back to replace Marizanne Kapp, who returned to South Africa for international duty), took 3/17.

Even more remarkable about this story is that Coyte returns to the WBBL after taking some time away from the game to deal with anxiety and anorexia. She had difficulty sleeping in the lead-up to her opening game against the Strikers and has certainly not disappointed, being rightly recognised for her efforts by being named Player of the Match for the Final.

Scorchers beat Renegades, into WBBL finals

  Scorchers beat Renegades, into WBBL finals Katherine Brunt has made a mess of the Renegades' batting line-up before Nat Sciver steered the Scorchers to victory and into third place on the WBBL ladder. The Perth Scorchers have secured a WBBL finals berth with a four-wicket win over the Melbourne Renegades at Camberwell Sports Ground.Requiring 113 for victory, the Scorchers bounced back strongly from Saturday's defeat to move past the modest target in 16.1 overs and leapt to third place on the points table in what was virtually a mini-elimination final for both sides.

HOW IT WORKS. The WBBL will feature 56 regular season games which will be followed by two semi- finals and then the season decider. The WBBL finals will be stand - alone fixtures for the first time .

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Or Erin Burns, who took 2/26 and throughout her summer demonstrated why she is one of the most effective and consistent fielders in the game.

What about the bravery of Piepa Cleary, who even with the Scorchers staring down a total that wouldn’t even eclipse 100, came in at the tail end of the innings to top score for the team, making 18 not out off 14 balls.

Then with bat in hand, the Sixers chased down the Scorchers total of 99 with ease particularly with Alyssa Healy and Ellyse Perry opening the batting.

Alyssa made 41 from 32 deliveries including five fours and one six, and Ellyse made 36 not out from 42 and hit the winning runs.

Sydney Sixers players celebrate winning after the final of the Women's Big Bash League. © AAP Image/David Mariuz Sydney Sixers players celebrate winning after the final of the Women's Big Bash League. Cricket Australia has done an outstanding job in demonstrating that cricket is a sport for all. From the significant pay increases for our female cricketers (at a domestic and international level), to the availability of merchandise for the Australian Women’s Cricket team and our WBBL teams, to having games live on free-to-air television, it’s no surprise that the women’s game has continued to go from strength to strength.

Heat struck out of WBBL race by Thunder

  Heat struck out of WBBL race by Thunder Brisbane Heat needed runs against Thunder in a last-ditch bid to overtake the Strikers for fourth spot on the WBBL ladder but Sydney held their nerve.In pursuit of the Thunder's 8-117, the Heat looked in complete control at 4-91 in the 14th over, needing well under a run a ball to prevail at Allan Border Field.

The # WBBL 04 schedule has just landed, featuring standalone finals and a blockbuster Opening Weekend in Melbourne! https The @HurricanesWBBL are off to Burnie and Launceston for # WBBL 04, in addition to a big weekend festival at Blundstone Arena!

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It’s now time for Cricket Australia to take a big step and recognise that for WBBL04, double-headers for the finals series simply do not work.

Let’s begin with the inherent unfairness of the system as it stands.

In the men’s game, home-ground advantage in the finals is seen as a good incentive for teams to strive to finish at the top of the BBL ladder. No such incentive exists in the WBBL.

While the Adelaide Strikers BBL team had the opportunity to play in front of their home crowd, the Sydney Sixers (who finished top of the WBBL ladder) were denied this opportunity throughout the finals due to Big Bash scheduling.

The Sixers travelled to Adelaide for their first semi-final against the Strikers and then remained there for their final against the Scorchers.

Interestingly, Sydney have a very good record at the Adelaide Oval, having won all four games that they have played there, but that certainly does not negate the lack of home-ground advantage they had throughout the finals series.

Forget there being absolutely no incentive for teams to finish at the top of the WBBL ladder, but the fact that the game is played as a double-header in a place foreign to both teams means that a final, which should have been played in front of thousands of people (just like it was on opening weekend), was not.

Sixers sitting pretty for WBBL defence

  Sixers sitting pretty for WBBL defence Five straight victories has pushed the Sydney Sixers into the perfect position to defend their WBBL title in the upcoming finals series.The Sixers (10-4) take on the fourth-placed Adelaide Strikers (8-6) at Adelaide Oval on Friday in mint form with Alyssa Healy back to her best following a devastating double (106 and 63) against the Strikers and opening partner Ellyse Perry the competition's leading run scorer (500).

“For the first time ever we are moving the WBBL Finals to stand - alone fixtures separate to the “Giving the WBBL its own window for finals is an important step for the League as we look ahead to a stand - alone fixture in the 2019-20 season.” Do you have what it takes to become a sports writer?

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It was great to see the game televised on Channel Ten. But unfortunately, it looked like it was being played in front of an empty stadium.

This is so unfair to the teams competing in the final. They deserve to play in front of a crowd – particularly when you consider how many international players featured in the two line-ups. Players like Natalie Sciver, Nicole Bolton, Katherine Brunt, Elyse Villani, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy and Ellyse Perry.

And as good as it is to have the game on television, it looks appalling for people to turn on and see no one in the stadium. An empty stadium lacks atmosphere and increases the incentive for people channel surfing to change the channel.

Additionally, it also deprives fans, so many of whom have followed the women’s game with dedication and passion throughout the summer, the opportunity to watch their team in a final.

I watched the final from the couch – had the game been played in Sydney, I would have joined several thousand of my friends out there to cheer on both teams competing.

Congratulations to the Sixers on becoming the first WBBL team to win back-to-back titles. An exceptional achievement and one which will see the WBBL trophy remain in Sydney for a third consecutive year.

But I challenge Cricket Australia to recognise how effective their support and promotion of women’s cricket has been to date and continue to give the women’s game the spotlight it deserves.

Play the WBBL04 final as a standalone game. I promise, the fans will follow if you lead the way.

Big Bash League schedule to be shaped by fans, says league boss Kim McConnie .
BBL chief Kim McConnie insists fans will be the No.1 priority as Cricket Australia weighs up whether to expand ahead of next season. A full home-and-away schedule of 14 games is squarely on the agenda for next summer after CA increased each team's games by two this summer to 10-a-side.CA's schedule for 2018-19 is a source of considerable intrigue with discussions also afoot about moving the Women's Big Bash League to its own window at the start of the summer.

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