It was a campaign where the highs were highs and the lows were low for the Hurricanes. The highlight for the ‘Canes was undoubtedly the side’s nine-wicket win over the Sydney Sixers; just the second time that feat had been achieved in the franchise’s history. It was a record-breaking day for the Hurricanes, when the hero of the day, Rachel Priest’s unbeaten 92 was the highest individual score by a Hurricane since the inception of the WBBL. Her 127-run partnership with fellow international, Hayley Matthews, was also a club record.
However, the lows were also low for the Hurricanes. With key bowlers Tayla Vlaeminck and Maisy Gibson out for the tournament’s entirety due to injury – plus key opening bowler, Belinda Vakawera, injuring herself and unable to play on the final weekend of the tournament – it was still the team’s batting that struggled, with the Hurricanes amassing an innings total of sub-90 runs on four occasions.
The Hurricanes also had their fair share of bad luck, with two games early in the tournament yielding no result due to bad weather – one against eventual finalists, the Brisbane Heat, which was just three balls off being declared a legal match and a near certain Hurricanes win. That combined with matches against the Sixers and the Thunder being lost by nine and one run respectively, meant the Hurricanes simply had to keep winning in the back end of the tournament to make the finals, which unfortunately, they could not.
Another key highlight of the tournament was the debut of teenage leg spinner, Amy Smith, who not only celebrated her 16th birthday whilst in the WBBL Village, but also played every single one of the Hurricanes 14 fixtures. Stepping into the squad for the injured Gibson, Smith was the Hurricanes equal third-highest wicket-taker of the tournament (tied with Vakawera on eight), with her scalps including international talents such as Ashleigh Gardner, Erin Burns, Lizelle Lee and Tahlia McGrath.
Post the Hurricanes final match against the Sydney Thunder on Sunday, Head Coach, Salliann Briggs, reflected on her side’s WBBL|06 campaign.
“Look I’m pretty disappointed to be honest, in how we’ve played from a batting point of view,” Briggs said. “I don’t think it’s a true reflection of the quality that we’ve got in this team.”
“I think the key thing between us and other teams is those senior players standing up and getting excited to want to make a difference, so we’ve got to find ways that we can give our players the confidence to go out there and play confidently [and] aggressively and want to dominate.”
When asked whether the pressure of living in a hub environment for five weeks could have impacted the team’s performance, Briggs said she definitely thought so, however as all teams were playing under the same conditions it wasn’t an excuse.
“I don’t think the hub is suited to everyone and I think definitely some players would’ve found it difficult, but we can’t use that as an excuse. I think that if you look at our performances over the past three years, we’ve probably seen just too many repeated errors from those key people unfortunately, so we’ve got to work a little bit harder… I feel responsible for the way the team’s playing so we’ve got to keep reviewing and look at how we can do things better.”
The squad will now have a two-week leave period, before commencing preparations for the WNCL season, which is due to commence in early 2021.
“From now we’ll have a couple of weeks off,” Briggs continued. “It gives the girls time to see their loved ones and do their own reflections to get themselves up for what’s going to be a really good competition, and competitive again. We’ve arguably got a stronger team for that competition [the WNCL], a well-balanced team, so I’m excited to get going with it if I’m honest.”