The Abode Hotels ACT Meteors has announced their 15-player contracted squad for the 2022/23 Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL) season, with a mix of new and familiar faces joining the list.

The 2022/23 season will coincide with a major milestone for Cricket ACT as the organisation prepares to celebrate its 100-year anniversary.

The Meteors welcome Melbourne Renegades and Queensland Fire fast-bowler Holly Ferling on a two-year contract, while Sydney’s Angelina Genford also earns her first WNCL contract after strong performances in the NSW Premier Cricket competition last season. Annie Wikman and Alisha Bates have also earned full contracts for the first time after making their blue and gold debut during the 2021/22 season.

The Meteors say farewell to retiring off-spinner and former captain Erin Osborne, while Nicola Hancock and Erica Kershaw were not offered contract renewals for the upcoming season. Madeline Penna also informed Cricket ACT that she would like to explore other opportunities and was released from her contract with one-year remaining.

Meteors opening batter and Adelaide Strikers big-hitter Katie Mack also rubber stamped her commitment to the Meteors, signing a new three-year deal to see her remain with the ACT until the end of the 2024/25 season.

Meteors Head Coach Jono Dean commented on the 2022/23 squad.

“This season is a big one for the Meteors, as Cricket ACT prepares to celebrate our centenary. We came so very close to a finals berth last season, and what a moment it would be to get the opportunity to play in our first final during this once-in-a-lifetime milestone for our organisation.

“We are very excited to welcome Holly Ferling to Canberra and into the Meteors family. Whilst she is an extremely accomplished cricketer, having made 34 appearances for Australia across all formats, she is also a wonderful leader and will be a great mentor for some of our younger players.

“Batting all-rounder Annie Wikman joined us in the middle of last season to help fill the gaps left by several injuries within the squad. She impressed during an intra-squad practice match and made her debut against her home state Queensland, finishing the season with four matches under her belt.

“Alisha Bates has been part of our program since last season, training with the squad as an off-contract player. As a left arm orthodox spinner, she got her opportunity in the second half of last season and showcased why she belonged in the WNCL. We take great pride in watching her continue to develop and look forward to what she will deliver this season.

“Having watched Angelina (Genford) play against us for the NSW Breakers in a practise match during the season last year, I was impressed with her bowling ability and raw pace. Her batting ability was also on show during the Breakers final match of the season where Angelina scored an unbeaten 45 of 62 balls. I am excited to see her continue to develop in our squad where she will be surrounded by some great people along the way.

“It is also very pleasing to see a player of Katie Mack’s calibre show her faith and commitment to our program by signing a long-term deal. She is an integral part of our future plans, and we are thrilled to continue to play a part in her cricket journey.

“With new faces come some hard goodbyes. It was a difficult decision to say farewell to Erica Kershaw who has been an important part of our squad for a number of years. Erica stepped up during the second half of last season to take on the captaincy in Ange’s (Reakes) absence and we wish her all the best for the future. We also wish Nicola Hancock and Madeline Penna all the best as they pursue new opportunities.”

Current captain Ange Reakes revealed earlier this year that she is expecting her first child in August and will maintain her spot on the list whilst she takes maternity leave and adapts to her newest challenge, parenthood. Due to the landmark Australian Cricket Parental Leave Policy, the Meteors receive one additional automatic contract upgrade, resulting in a contracted player list of 15-players instead of the regular 14.

A new captain for the upcoming season will be announced in the coming weeks, with the squad set to return to training in early June.

A number of players from the Meteors Regional Development Squad will also train alongside the Meteors to provide increased opportunities for skill development and opportunities for future squad selection.

2022/23 ACT Meteors Contracted Players

In: Holly Ferling (QLD), Alisha Bates, Annie Wikman, Angelina Genford

Out: Erin Osborne (retired), Madeline Penna, Nicola Hancock, Erica Kershaw

Squad: Angela Reakes, Katie Mack, Kayla Burton, Gabrielle Sutcliffe, Chloe Rafferty, Carly Leeson, Matilda Lugg, Olivia Porter, Rebecca Carter, Amy Yates, Zoe Cooke, Holly Ferling, Alisha Bates, Angelina Genford, Annie Wikman