With a dozen seasons under her belt in the world’s leading women’s one-day domestic competition, Tasmania’s Corinne Hall is well-placed to comment on the strength of the WNCL and its continual development.
After debuting with the NSW Breakers squad in 2009, Hall relocated to Hobart which has been her home for more than a decade.
Ahead of the 2018-19 season, greater funding enabled the women’s program in Hall’s adopted state to become more professional and the Tigers have been increasingly competitive ever since – a rise that culminates in the side hosting their first-ever final this Sunday against South Australia.
“It’s been difficult to not be nostalgic this week,” says Hall.
“We didn’t even have a solid women’s club competition down here in Tasmania when our first state team entered the WNCL. Fast forward 12 years and we train Monday through Friday. “
“Emma Thompson and Sasha Moloney have been a part of the team since the first WNCL match and I joined them a few games later, so I think for us this opportunity has been a long time coming.
Factoring injuries and isolation requirements ahead of the home international summer that featured Australia A matches alongside the Ashes series, as well as the ODI World Cup being contested in New Zealand at present, there are over 25 international-level players who have missed WNCL matches this summer.
Their absence has helped Hall realise just how strong the WNCL has been this season.
“(Given that fact) The standard has pretty remarkable,” says Hall.
“I think if we had that sort of depletion of players even five years ago, we would’ve struggled to fill teams. It’s exciting to see young players be exposed to the game at the elite level so early in their careers and to see them hold their own.”
Hall attributes this rapid growth in strength of the competition and development of players to the resources available, and says it indicates what could be possible with greater investment in years to come.
“When I started playing WNCL, we sold raffle tickets to fundraise money to attend tournaments. Now we have all the resources of a high-performance environment to allow ourselves to be the best athletes we can be,” says Hall.
“I know the ACA is working hard behind the scenes with Cricket Australia to get the women’s game to a point where, as contracted players, we don’t have to supplement our income with a part-time job.
“The additional pressure of obtaining a flexible job to support ourselves whilst devoting all our time to cricket can be physically, mentally and emotionally taxing. I believe alleviating that financial burden would allow female players to invest more time in developing themselves as cricketers.”
While the WBBL has been brilliant for the game, Hall believes there needs to be more longer format cricket.
“In an ideal world, a season would include a full home and away WNCL season and in the future the addition of a version of (Sheffield) Shield cricket, whether that be two- or three-day cricket to help grow the game further.”