Linke to lead south-west flavoured Waves

SOUTH-west players dominate the make-up of the Western Waves under 18 girls’ cricket squad for next week’s state championships.

Hawkesdale’s Grace Linke will captain the side as it chases the region’s second state title in four years.

Selectors picked four state players: Brauer College student Gemma Gibbons, Merino’s Claire Nolte and Mallee pair Rhuanna O’Donnell and Mackinley Blows. 

Purnim all-rounder Eliza Smith, Emmanuel College batter/’keeper Mikayla Doran, all-rounders Maddi Tobias (Koroit), Kelsey Perry (Woolsthorpe) and Grace Lee (Mercy Regional College, Camperdown) join Linke as south-west representatives in the 13-player squad.

Western country regional cricket manager Stephen Field said Ballarat-based coach Jamie Fenech had high hopes for the side. He said Hamilton and Warrnambool were strong breeding grounds for girls’ cricket.  “If you look at Hamilton they have a women’s competition that has been running for years,” he said. Field said Warrnambool and district schools had been great supporters of the kanga 8s competition, which introduced girls to the game.

“It’s a very, very strong side. There are four girls playing in the state side and that makes a big difference.  While we don’t have a huge standout player like Steph Townsend when we won it three ago years, we have a very strong side.” 

He said selectors had opted to go with the 13 best players,  despite most being all-rounders. 

Finalists will play at the MCG in January.

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