This weekend sees the first set of fixtures in the Australian WT20 and WNCL (Women's National Cricket League) state cricket competitions. Both competitions are fought out between the 7 state sides ( I know ACT is technically a territory and not a state, before you go there!).
The sides are:-
ACT (Tradies ACT Meteors)
New South Wales (Lend Lease NSW Breakers)
Queensland (Konica Minolta Queensland Fire)
South Australia (SA Scorpions)
Tasmania (Cripps Tasmanain Roar)
Victoria (Commonwealth Bank Vic Spirit)
Western Australia (Alcohol. Think Again Western Fury)
The format is that there are just six state 50 over white ball matches in the WNCL and 12 T20 games, before semi-finals and a final in the WNCL and a final in the T20. Two T20 games and one 50 over game are usually played against the same opponents over a long weekend - Friday pm T20; Saturday 50 over game; Sunday am T20. There are exceptions including eight T20 games that are going to played before men's Big Bash T20 league matches and the final on 28th January 2015.
This weekends fixtures (all 2xT20 and 1x50 over) are:-
Western Fury v Queensland Fire
NSW Breakers v ACT Meteors
Vic Spirit v SA Scorpions
Former Aussie skipper Lisa Sthalekar has previewed the season beautifully here. She suggests the NSW Breakers are still the front-runners in both competitions - they have won the WNCL for the last nine years on the bounce!! But Vic Spirit will be hard on their heels again, and with the influx of international players SA Scorpions and Western Fury are likely to be challenging hard too.
With the Aussies coming over to England next year for the Ashes it will be good to judge their players form, and many of the New Zealanders that England are due to meet out in New Zealand in February are also involved in Aussie state cricket. Not to mention our own Charlotte Edwards, Sarah Taylor and Heather Knight!
WCB will bring you regular updates as the season goes along, so stay tuned.