Having lost the final in last WNCL season to the Tasmanian Tigers, the South Australian Scorpions are using the heartbreak to build towards another finals appearance this year. Having been undefeated so far, they look to continue the winning momentum through the last few games.
Ahead of two games against the reigning WNCL champions, the Scorpions are in a great position sitting second behind the Queensland Fire on the league ladder. Facing the two highly favoured teams to take the title, they are not resting on their winning form but continuing to get better through recent team acquisitions and better all-round team performances.
Spurring them on through the last four games is the feeling of losing the final last season, which serves as a reminder of how good they’ll have to be to take home the title. Last season it was the Tigers that broke-through for a maiden win by nine wickets, but will it be the Scorpions’ turn to win a second final after the 2015/16 title?
Ahead of their two clashes with Tasmania on Monday and Wednesday, former Tiger and current Scorpion, Courtney Webb spoke exclusively to The Inner Sanctum about losing the 2021/22 final, their final run of games and the new recruits that have come into the team.
“It was pretty heart-breaking, the loss, I think that not that we weren’t ever in the game, but it felt like Tassie were on top for three quarters or so of the game and ended up winning pretty easily,” Webb told The Inner Sanctum.
“That was pretty hard to take [but] especially for me against my old team. I think our team balance and the way we’ve been playing [this season] just shows just how determined we are, we haven’t necessarily been dominant in the games but we’ve just found a way to win even when we probably shouldn’t have got the points.
“It’s really cool to be a part of [the team] at the moment but obviously we’ve got Queensland and Tassie in our last four games and they are both at the top of the ladder as well so it will be a good challenge for us.”Embed from Getty Images
Speaking about their undefeated season so far which has netted wins against the ACT Meteors, Western Australia, NSW Blues as well as a tie with Victoria, Webb is positive that the Scorpions have what it takes to succeed through the pointy end of the competition.
Without their star bowling attack in Australian trio Darcie Brown, Megan Schutt and Tahlia McGrath, they have had captain Jemma Barsby, Kate Peterson and Amanda-Jade Wellington step up to take 34 wickets combined.
In the batting, it has been the efforts of Emma De Broughe (333 runs) and Maddie Penna (323 runs) that have got South Australia over the line, with some great performances from Webb, Bridget Patterson and Josie Dooley throughout the campaign.
Webb explained the role that some of the younger and more inexperienced players like Peterson, Brooke Harris and Anesu Mushangwe have played in taking the open spots in the team vacated by the Australian stars and making sure they perform their roles within the side.
“I think we’ve really done well so far, obviously we have our three main bowlers out playing for Australia in Darcie, Megan and Tahlia so for the girls that didn’t play those first couple of games while they were available, for them to slot in and play a role and sort of fill their shoes to the best of their ability, that’s been really crucial,” Webb said.
“It just shows the depth of our squad while those girls are away. I think with our batting, we are just really confident and believe in ourselves that we can I guess chase any total, we chased down 280 and 270 in our last two games back, [it just takes] one person to get the job done each game so [we are] just playing with a lot of freedom and a lot of confidence, backing each team member [to do their part].”
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For Anesu Mushangwe, it has been a whirlwind few months making her WBBL debut for the Adelaide Strikers in 2022 and now her WNCL debut for the Scorpions. An all-rounder that has just taken to premier cricket in South Australia like a duck to water, she has now become a weapon for the Scorpions.
Combining with Mushangwe is another new recruit this season in former ACT Meteor Maddie Penna. Penna has been playing as more of a genuine all-rounder rather than a bowler than can simply just hold a bat, as a result, the Scorpions have a much more diverse team that is much more even and balanced.
“Anesu is amazing, I’ve played club cricket with her and her numbers and stats across club cricket and now into squad games have been quite mind-blowing,” she said.
“She’s an absolute gun and she’s a good person to have around the team, it’s been awesome to see her get her opportunity and do really, really well for us.
“[Having] Mads coming across from the ACT, she’s played a lot with the Strikers girls before but she’s slotted in pretty seamlessly as well and has absolutely dominated in that number five spot.
“Some of the shots that she’s able to play and the power that she’s got, she’s sort of perfect for that middle to late order role and she’s won a couple of games for us off her own bat, which is really amazing.”
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