The Best Bits
The South Australian Scorpions may have missed a spot in this season’s final – but they couldn’t have come much closer. They finished the Women’s National Cricket League competition in third place, only behind dominant duo New South Wales and Western Australia.
Three wins and three losses, plus three bonus points, left South Australia on 15 points, while WA finished in second on 22 points and talent-laden grand final-winner NSW was undefeated, collecting 30 points and sitting firmly on top.
After being present in back-to-back finals, the Scorpions failed to make it to the last hurdle in the two most recent seasons, despite some sparkling individual performances.
Sophie Devine with the player of the match bear.
Devine’s big hitting
New Zealand allrounder Sophie Devine showed why she is one of the most imposing Twenty20 batters in the world, carrying her consistent batting form through to the 50-over format, amassing 342 runs at an average of 57, with an incredible strike rate of 137.3.
Demonstrating her breathtaking power, Devine blasted a high score of 117 from just 85 balls against Tasmania. She also accumulated the most sixes for the competition with 16, a staggering 10 ahead of second-placed Rachael Haynes (NSW Breakers).
Finishing in second place for most runs in the league, behind Player of the Tournament Haynes, Devine completed the competition with a higher strike rate in four of her six innings than any other player.
Tabatha Saville and Alex Price celebrate their win.
Former NSW Breaker Ashleigh Gardner made the move to SA this season for more opportunities and she and teenager Tabatha Saville made their Scorpions debuts.
Gardner made 34 against WA in her first match, while Saville experienced a dream start to her Scorpions career, scoring a half-century and batting alongside Amanda-Jade Wellington as she compiled her maiden State ton.
Saville finished the season with a solid average of 35.66, the third-highest for her side.
Tahlia McGrath makes a solid contribution for the Scorpions.
McGrath’s bat magic
Tahlia McGrath returned to State duties following her red-hot Commonwealth Bank Women’s Ashes form, in which she made 47 and took three wickets in her Test debut.
Accumulating 243 WNCL runs at an average of 48.6 with two half-centuries, McGrath showed why she was included in the victorious Ashes squad.
Recording scores of 20, 80, a duck, 20 not out, 75 and 48, McGrath made significant contributions almost every time she strode out to bat.
Samantha Betts celebrates the wicket of Elyse Villani.
Bettsy’s ball skills
Medium-pacer Samantha Betts found form with the ball after returning from a back injury which saw her miss most of the Strikers’ WBBL|03 campaign.
Snaring five wickets across the opening round of two matches, Betts topped the Scorpions’ wicket-taking leaderboard by the end of the campaign – alongside leg-spinner Wellington – with nine wickets at an average of 20.4. The 2017-18 season was Betts’ most fruitful, with her previous best figures being eight wickets at 25.1.
The amazing chase
The Scorpions pulled off the highest run chase of the season, passing the ACT’s competitive 269 in a breakneck 40 overs.
In the final weekend of matches and chasing a big total after Claire Koski’s unbeaten ton, the Scorpions were racing for a bonus point, ensuring every chance for a possible top-two finish.
Four of the seven Scorpions batters struck at better than a-run-a-ball, with three (Devine, McGrath and Bridget Patterson) blasting half-centuries. Devine’s 88 from 53 balls was pivotal in the chase, with Wellington pushing for two on the final ball of the 40th over to secure the win and bonus point.
Wellington’s maiden ton
Australian leg-spinner Wellington pushed her case for allrounder status with her maiden State century against a strong Western Fury side.
Compiling 116 from 125 balls, including 11 fours and two sixes, Wellington found herself in good company, among just nine other 2017-18 centurions.
Batting in the top six throughout the competition, Wellington also joined Betts at the top of the wicket-taking leaderboard, collecting nine scalps at 24.2.