BASKETBALL – 040216
Another WNBL team finds itself in financial trouble in just its first season!
The South East Queensland Stars are the latest WNBL team to fall victim to the lack of sponsorship and financial hardship that is faced by multiple women’s sports. The struggle to stay afloat is hard in any sport, however female teams find themselves faced with added pressure and uncertainty.
Sitting fifth on the ladder would ordinarily have you feeling confident in your team and the development behind the scenes, however, the sad truth is that SEQ is yet another WNBL team to face financial hardship and ultimately go into liquidation as a result.
Former SEQ WNBL team, Logan Thunder, folded under similar circumstances. Townsville Fire had difficulties until the community rallied behind the team to get them back on track. Adelaide Lightning have also been on the cusp of folding, and the SEQ Stars won’t be the last if the thinking behind sponsoring women’s sport doesn’t change.
So why is it that women’s sporting teams can’t hold onto their sponsorship partners long term? What is the hesitation for companies with commiting to women’s sport? It’s a sad reality that continues to threaten the women’s sporting world. When cuts to the ABC were handed down last season, the W-League and WNBL were suddenly off our screens. A leap backwards for two leagues that had relied on the broadcast coverage to maintain sponsorship funding and exposure.
The financial interest in women’s sport has been a slow and inconsistent ride. With most female athletes having to fulfil their sporting commitments whilst juggling full-time careers or study, the passion for their sport may be the only thing that keeps athletes competing. With teams travelling on a tight budget, whilst their male equivalents travel in style, the challenges to keep a female sporting team above water comes at a cost. The cost, unfortunatley, is sometimes too much.
So what can be done to shift the way women’s sport is viewed and funding obtained? The answer not only lies with companies and their willingness to commit, it also falls on the community and their ability to support their local team. The WNBL’s Townsville Fire is a prime example of the power a community has to shift the way a team is viewed and supported, and ultimately to make them rise to the top.
SIXERS’ DREAM RUN COMES TO AN END AS THUNDER TAKE THE TROPHY!
Players were eager to get the finals action underway at the MCG as the Sixers took to the crease. The nerves were apparent as Clare Koski missed a bread and butter run out in the third over, taking the bails off without the ball. This was sure to be a massive wicket as Ellyse Perry was miles from the crease.
Perry didn’t make the Thunder pay for their error, and was caught for just eight runs by Thunder’s Rachael Haynes. Haynes dropped the very next ball of Ash Gardner, however Koski made up for her mistake with a lightning fast stumping, walking Gardner for 20.
The next seven overs saw the Sixers’ line-up fall to pieces. Maisey Gibson dropped Alyssa Healy at 14, however took the wicket shortly after, with Healy out for LBW at just 19. Spinner, Erin Osbourne, took a blinder of a catch down the pitch, taking Kapp for just 7. The exceptional fielding from the Thunder continued as Haynes took another catch on the off side, and suddenly the Sixers were 5/60.
The Sixers’ hopes of getting back in the game fell on the bat of Sarah McGlashan to produce another big hitting spectacle. Before the partnership with Sarah Aley even started to form, Aley was gone for 7. The pressure was building as the Thunder gave up a few opportunities to scalp even more Sixers’ wickets.
Rene Farrell removed the last key big hitter in Sarah McGlashan, for LBW. With the target finishing at 7/115, the Thunder had produced a fielding performance completely opposite to that of their last clash with the Sixers.
It was a slow start with the bat for the Thunder. With a reachable target to chase, Sixers’ bowlers Kapp and Perry put pressure on the opening duo, which left the Thunder with limited runs on the board early on. As the overs dwindled, the dot balls continued and the pressure to start connecting with the bat increased for the Thunder.
Stafanie Taylor and Rachael Haynes started to find the gaps and the runs slowly started to build. As the partnership found form, nine overs gone, the Thunder were 0/49 needing just over a run a ball to win.
The Sixers finally made a breakthrough, midway through the innings, thanks to the bowling of Sarah Aley who took two critical wickets in one over. Taylor went for a long shot, however was caught by Gardner for 27. Stalenburg came to the crease and was bowled for a duck, giving the Sixers a spring in their step.
With Alex Blackwell in at 4, the Thunder needed to shift momentum back their way. Haynes and Blackwell started to settle into their partnership. Trying to sneak a second run from the dropped catch from Perry, Rachael Haynes was run out with a quick recovery and throw to Healy in the 18th over.
Nicola Carey was also run out, leaving the Thunder needing 9 runs from 12 balls. Blackwell was bowled by Kapp, another run out, and Farrell was caught. The Thunder had lost 5 for 13 which saw an exciting end to the WBBL final. The Thunder won by 3 wickets with 3 balls remaining in a thrilling end to the WBBL final.
The Thunder roars into the final as the Hurricanes were clouded by the Sixers!
THUNDER vs SCORCHERS
The first semi-final saw the Sydney Thunder take on the Perth Scorchers in hot conditions at the Adelaide Oval. Sydney won the toss and Thunder Captain, Alex Blackwell, chose to bat.
The Scorchers attack was in high gear and took the early wickets of Sydney openers Rachael Haynes and Stafanie Taylor. Scorchers limited Haynes to just 15 before being caught by Nicky Shaw at mid on from Suzie Bates’ first ball of her first over.Taylor then fell for 24, being caught behind from an excellent ball from Katherine Brunt. Stalenberg was dismissed the very next over and suddenly the Thunder were 3/58.
Thunders Captain, Alex Blackwell, and Nicola Carey started to find a rhythm, and took the score to 96 before Carey fell late in the innings to a brilliant yorker by Heather Graham. The Perth Scorchers were running with momentum and next over took the wicket of Erin Osbourne. Blackwell did well to keep the Thunder’s grand final hopes alive and was eventually run out for 39 by Graham in the last over. It was another display of Perth’s top fielding on the day, which managed to limit the score to just 6/118.
With Blackwell being the only player for Sydney Thunder to score above 25, the Perth Scorchers went into their innings needing only 119 to advance to the Grand Final.
The Scorchers’ Charlotte Edwards and Elyse Villani came out swinging and sent the ball over the rope several times in the first few overs. Villani was run out in the 5th over bringing Suzie Bates to the crease. Maisy Gibson and Erin Osbourne then restricted Edwards and Bates to scoring limited runs before Osbourne snatched the wicket of Edwards for 18 runs, caught by Nicola Carey. Wickets started falling from there, with a wicket every couple of overs.
The Scorchers were not able to build momentum and went into the last over needing 14 runs to win. Farrell snatched two wickets in the last over, taking her to 3/20 off four overs, and sealing the deal for Sydney Thunder to advance to the Grand Final.
SIXERS vs HURRICANES
You would think looming storms would be an omen for the Hurricanes, however it did nothing but reduce the overs on a rainy day at the MCG, and give Sydney the opportunity to advance to the final, scoring just 55 runs with 10 wickets in hand.
The match was delayed due to the downpour and then reduced to just 14 overs a side. The Hurricanes won the toss and took to the crease. Opening batter Veronica Pyke had no sooner left the sheds, before returning just two balls later thanks to a ripper of a catch from Sixers’ Alyssa Healy. Heather Knight and Erin Burns tried to get the scoreboard rolling, however Knight was dismissed for 16. Lisa Sthalekar was on fire as she took 3/9 whilst Sarah Aley and Marizanne Kapp also claimed crucial wickets, causing the Hurricanes to crumble.
Sydney Sixers Captain, Ellyse Perry, and Alyssa Healy, let Sarah McGlashan put her feet up as they smashed the 55 runs needed to win with 10 wickets in hand.
THE GRAND FINAL
It’s an all Sydney affair for the grand final!
When the Sixers last met the Thunder, they produced the second highest score of the season by any team. It was a brilliant display of batting by Alyssa Healy, Sarah McGlashan and Ashleigh Gardner, and the precision fielding was textbook.
The Thunder however, would rather forget their last meeting, as not only did their batting line-up fall apart, they also struggled to wrap their fingers around catches in the field.
Anything can happen with these two teams and the only thing for sure is that you don’t want to miss it!