July 1, 2003

Women to have match on Telstra Stadium this summer

Women's cricket will be played on Telstra Stadium in the summer when New South Wales and Queensland meet in a Women's National Cricket League match.

The NSW Breakers and Queensland Fire will have the honour of being the first women's cricket team to play at the former Stadium Australia, host venue for the opening and closing ceremonies and track and field athletics at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.

Only one match has previously been played at the ground when Steve Waugh¹s New South Wales Blues played an ING Cup fixture against Southern Redbacks on February 16 this year.

Among two other new venues for the women's league is Bowral, where the Breakers will play the Southern Scorpions at Bradman Oval, an appropriate choice given Sir Don Bradman's affiliation with both states, on December 6-7. The other venue is Frankston's Butler Oval for the repeat of last season's final between the Victoria Spirit and the Breakers on December 20-21.

The League begins on November 22 when Victoria play the Queensland Fire, who were fourth-placed last year, at Allan Border Field in Brisbane. Victoria are chasing back-to-back titles after winning their first WNCL crown last season, beating New South Wales in the competition final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The win broke New South Wales¹ run of six consecutive WNCL titles.

The double-action opening round also sees Western Fury host last season¹s runners-up, New South Wales, at the WACA Ground in Perth.

This season will again see the WNCL finals series hosted by the team that finishes the home-and-away season in top position. In the past, the finals were hosted by the team that finished first in the previous season.

At youth level, national under-age championships for Under-15, Under-17 and Under-19 players, will also take place over the summer.

The Under-15 championships (December 15-19) will be staged in Melbourne, the Under-17 championships (January 19-23) in Geelong, while the Under-19 championships (January 7-14) travel to Hobart for the first time. The Cricket Australia Cup (women¹s) will be held in Sydney (December 8-12).

The international schedule for the Australian women¹s team, the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars, will be announced in the coming months.

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