WA Women 'Buzzing' For NICC Opener
8 February 2017  

Wednesday night marks the start of the WA Women’s Aboriginal XI’s campaign at the 2017 National Indigenous Cricket Championships in Alice Springs.

WA will open their tournament against one of the powerhouse teams in Northern Territory in a T20 fixture under lights at one of the NT’s premier sporting grounds, Traeger Park.

Head coach of the WA Women’s Aboriginal XI Brian Shields said the mix of talent has boosted WA’s chances of continuing to develop the women’s pathway and putting in strong performances against some more established states.

"We’ve got a great young squad and we’ve actually retained a lot of players from last year,” Shields said.

"We’ve also picked up some handy new players as well as some players that have played in previous years but were unavailable for last year’s championships for a variety of reasons such as work commitments and injury.

"There’s some great talent among this squad and some great people and we’re looking forward to the competition starting.”

WA’s latest Aboriginal XI debutants Aggie Manel (University) and Rikki Garlett (University) were presented their playing tops by WACA Aboriginal Programs Coordinator Larry Kickett in a pre-game presentation ahead of Wednesday’s match.

"They’ve fitted in perfectly and the girls have got around them so we’re buzzing,” Shields said.

"The girls are ready to go. A lot of them have been playing club cricket at University, which has been a great pathway that University and the WACA has supported and helped align opportunities for females from different country regions, along with our other established players from other clubs such as Midland Guildford and so on.”

This year marks the fifth time WA has competed in the Women’s Division, having claimed its only ever win in 2015, before missing out last year.

The entirety of WA’s squad has come through the state system, including Emily Bowden, Samara Williams and Kavita Pepper who were part of last year’s National Indigenous Team.

"Hopefully we can get a few more players in that national team this year and get a few more wins on the board,” Shields said.

"I definitely think we can do it, we came close against Queensland last year with a few decisions that didn’t go our way, but that’s cricket.

"We also gave Victoria a fair nudge too so I think we can definitely challenge those two sides and with the talent we’ve got.

"We’ve got match winners so I’m excited to see how the girls go and I honestly think they can beat anyone on their day.

"I believe that each year they’re getting better and better and stronger and stronger and they’re tighter as a unit as well. I’m excited to see how they go.

"It’s obviously a tough competition with NSW, Victoria and the other states pretty strong, but I think we’ve definitely closed that gap up each year we’ve come to Alice Springs so I’m looking forward to seeing how we go this year.”

WA women’s squad: Allee Bartlett (University), Kirsty Bennell (University), Emily Bowden (Midland-Guildford), Racquel Cross (University), Shakiya Cross (University), Candice Franklin (University), Rikki Garlett (University), Teleisha Hill (University), Katrina Jetta (University), Aggie Manel (University), Dainira Papertalk (University), Kavita Pepper (University), Samara Williams (University)

Coach: Brian Shields, Assistant Coach: Alan Singer, Team Manager: Lenny Papertalk

Follow the NICC fixtures here