Schoolgirl shines for Scorchers in maiden campaign
It’s still only early days, but coach Ashley Renouf is already savouring some promising signs among the Scorchers ranks as they embrace a maiden campaign in the state’s top flight.
After claiming back-to-back titles in the state’s second tier, the Scorchers women made the step up to debut in the Katherine Raymond Shield this season.
With their first game washed out, the Scorchers officially got their Queensland Premier Grade season under way in a one-day battle against Wynnum-Manly/Redlands last week.
They recorded neither a win or loss in their first outing, instead tying the game.
“The girls have done everything that they’ve been training to do so we were just unlucky not to get the win on the weekend,” Renouf said.
“Everybody improved over pre-season and it showed in the first game.”
A number of players were quick to shine, with Zoe Valencic snaring 4-43 with the ball in 10 overs and Grace Collins topscoring with a knock of 31 after facing 74 deliveries.
Remarkably, Grace is just 13-years-old.
“She’s 13 and playing women’s first grade so she did a fantastic job in the middle order,” Renouf said.
“I kind of expected her to do that, but a lot of people had their doubts.
“She’s stood up and she is a class player for her age and very talented.”
Renouf praised Valencic’s “exceptional” bowling too.
“What she’s been practicing in the off-season she took out in the game and she’s one to watch in the next couple of years.”
It was a positive maiden appearance for the squad, with Renouf hopeful for their campaign ahead.
“There is obviously going to be some challenges for them but for a very young squad I reckon they will do all right,” he said.
The Scorchers will next hit the field for two Twenty20 matches against Sandgate/Redcliffe and Gold Coast this weekend.
“Sandgate have three or four state players and the Gold Coast have a couple of good players as well,” Renouf said.
“But, I reckon if the girls do the simple things they could push the envelope.”
Meanwhile, the Scorchers men will get their two-day campaign under way at home on Saturday.
Ben Gear and Barry Bester will make their debuts, as No.136 and No.137.
Gear, who is Gympie bred, played with Tewantin/Noosa in SCCA Div 1 and was the top run scorer in Scorchers second team last season.
He made 108* against Wests in Round 1 this season.
Bester is an opening bowler who has previously played first grade for Brisbane Norths and joined up with Scorchers this season.
They will also play a one-day quarter-final against Redlands on Sunday.