Women's National Cricket League 2004-05 February 10, 2005

New South Wales push to break Victoria's spirit

Cricinfo staff

Melanie Jones, batting against England in 2003, will play a crucial role for Victoria Spirit © Getty Images

Victoria and New South Wales begin the best-of-three Women's National Cricket League finals at Bankstown Oval tomorrow with more than a domestic trophy at stake. The players will have their final chance to push for places in Australia's World Cup side, which is named on Monday for the tournament in South Africa next month.

Both teams finished on 32 points after the eight-match qualifying series and entered the deciders with one win against each other during the season. Julie Hayes, the New South Wales Breakers captain, said the defending champions had the depth and experience to win their eighth trophy in nine years. "We've known the feeling of winning and we've known what it feels like to lose and we don't want to feel like that again," Hayes said. "No one likes to lose to Victoria."

Belinda Clark, the Australia and Victoria Spirit captain, said the teams had a strong rivalry. "Traditionally we have been the two strongest states and that's the way it's paved out this season," Clark, the competition's top scorer with 345 runs, said. "It's not very often that we have three-match finals, and it's a good way to work into the series."

The Breakers will look to the openers Lisa Keightley and Shannon Cunneen for a strong start while the Spirit boast the gifted Melanie Jones and Cathryn Fitzpatrick, the intimidating fast bowler. The second match will be played on Saturday and the third, if required, on Sunday.

New South Wales Sarah Aley, Sarah Andrews, Alex Blackwell, Kate Blackwell, Leonie Coleman, Shannon Cunneen, Michelle Goszko, Julie Hayes (capt), Lisa Keightley, Lisa Sthalekar, Emma Twining, Jenny Wallace, Martha Winch.

Victoria Belinda Clark (capt), Cathryn Fitzpatrick, Clea Smith, Kelly Applebee, Louise Broadfoot, Jodi Dean, Sarah Edwards, Jane Franklin, Claire Lavery, Julie Hunter, Melanie Jones, Emily McIntyre, Megan Pauwels.