Fire prepare for historic WNCL final

Mooney Web

The Queensland Fire will be looking to cement their first Women's National Cricket League title this Sunday, against a New South Wales Breakers team who are determined to make amends for last year's defeat at the hands of the Scorpions.

Held at Allan Border Field on Saturday, the final will mark the conclusion of the six round series, and the first time Queensland have ever hosted a final in the competitions' current format.

The pinnacle of the female domestic cricket in Australia, the WNCL has traditionally been dominated by the Breakers, who have won 17 of the past 20 titles.

Queensland's Beth Mooney, recently off a stint with the Australian Women's Team, says that she believes that Queensland is in prime position to break the drought.

"It's the first time we have finished on top, which is really exciting because it means we get to host the final," Mooney said.

"Playing for Queensland has been such a massive part of my career, and everybody in the team loves playing with each other and we just have a great vibe around the group at the moment which has really helped this season.

Boasting four Cricket Australia contracted players, Holly Ferling, Jess Jonassen, Grace Harris and Mooney; the Fire have seldom relied solely on their stars this campaign.

"I think something we have done differently this year is making all players a bit more accountable for their game. There has been a real onus on individual players to improve," Mooney said.

"The core group of players we have had since I started playing has really helped us, but probably the most pleasing thing for us this year has been the fact that we haven't relied on one person to score runs or take wickets; at different times everyone has contributed and that will go a long way to us winning the final.

Mooney believes that it is vital that the competition is lengthened in coming seasons, in order to protect the status of 50 over female cricket.

"When I was coming through the ranks I dreamed of playing for Queensland and that was a massive part of my drive to make it to the top," she said.

"WNCL is so important towards girls being able to dream about the state they want to play for, whether it is Queensland, New South Wales or Victoria.

"I know that all the players feel similar to me in that we will be doing everything we can to make sure that it stays on the schedule."

Manager of Female Operations at the ACA, and former Australian and Queensland captain herself, Jodie Fields, strongly believes that the WNCL is the height of domestic cricket in Australia.

"It is really important going forward that the WNCL is given the status and importance it deserves," Fields said.

"In the Australian domestic scene, 50 over cricket is the purest form of cricket for females, and is vital for preparing players for playing at the international level.

"The players are unanimous that a longer WNCL season will allow for a greater development of players, and provide more opportunity for the best players to play in the best possible competition."

Mooney agreed, suggesting that she 'didn't believe that six games is enough, I think we need to play each team twice, so I think 12 games is right.'

"Because there is only six or seven teams in WNCL, I think everybody strives to play at that level and that creates a more fierce environment. It's not just about the talent that's on show, it's about the environment.

Mooney has recently come off the Australian tour against South Africa, where the hosts won four games, with a tie.