Cricket Australia yesterday released the fixtures for the 2021 Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL). Originally scheduled for September, the competition was forced to reschedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic – but now the Abode Hotels Meteors have the final piece of their tournament-planning puzzle.
The Mets’ first game is scheduled for January 15 – exactly one month from today – against Western Australia at the famous WACA Ground in Perth. WA took home the trophy in the 19-20 WNCL, but that won’t hold much fear for the players, who were one of only two sides to defeat the eventual champions.
Ange Reakes was appointed captain of the Abode Hotels ACT Meteors in September after serving five years as vice-captain. After a year-long rehab from an Achilles tendon rupture, it’s been a long wait to take that leadership onto the field. We caught up with Ange at EPC Solar Park to talk about the WNCL draw.
Ange, this is your first year as captain. How are you feeling about that, does it change how you prepare?
It's definitely something I enjoy doing. I just really enjoy empowering people to be their best at something. It feels a bit weird though, because it was announced in June this year. And six months later we still haven’t played a game of cricket together!
Having spent so much time together training together in the lead up, is getting to know each other better on a personal level an advantage?
We’re so lucky with our culture. We all enjoy and enjoy spending time with each other, and we've developed a culture where we're super honest with each other. So if someone is having a bad day, they'll speak up and just say so. Or people can say, “What you're saying isn't working for me, I need you to deliver that message in a different way.”
You’ve known him for a long time, has your relationship with Jono changed as Captain?
Yeah, I think it's definitely changed - but for the better. I've got a few bruises on my legs from him trying to toughen me up as a batter!
We're a bit more honest with each other, and we have a few more challenging conversations that we might not have had before - but always in the interest of the team. I really respect his honesty, and I know that he respects mine. We're really lucky that we have the relationship that we have.
Jono is almost like a chameleon. He can play to a situation really well, he's really good at creating relationships with players, but also at knowing when he needs to be that authoritative person.
So next question, who's gonna have a big year? Who are you tipping, who are you looking to as your senior players?
I think Katie Mack is looking really good with the bat. She's definitely taken her game to a new level, so I'm really excited to see what she can do at the top of the order.
I’m excited about Carly Leeson too, she's loving bowling at the moment and she's a bit of an underdog, I really like that about her. She has worked her butt off for so many years. It's really cool to see her get opportunities in a game and capitalise on them.
I think Nic Hancock has picked up a few extra kilometres and she’s just come off the back of a really strong WBBL, as has Carly. So that’s pretty awesome, to have those two available to you as a captain.
How’s your form? Is it a challenge to balance your role as batter and as captain?
I guess the first year that you captain you have so much going on, so just appreciating that and leaning on the support around me will be the way to go about handling the change.
We've got a really self-sufficient team now where girls are setting their own fields and I just throw them ball. That’s probably been the biggest growth from our bowling group, which is exciting. So fingers crossed we just put it all together when we get on the park!
Abode Hotels ACT Meteors WNCL 2020 Schedule
15 January 2021 – WA Women v ACT Meteors – WACA Ground, Perth
19 January 2021 – ACT Meteors v NSW Breakers – EPC Solar Park, Canberra
27 January 2021 – Tasmanian Tigers Women v ACT Meteors – Karen Rolton Oval, Adelaide
29 January 2021 – SA Scorpions v ACT Meteors - Karen Rolton Oval, Adelaide
21 February 2021 – Victoria Women v ACT Meteors – CitiPower Centre, St Kilda
23 February 2021 – Queensland Fire v ACT Meteors – Harry Trott Oval, St Kilda
17 March 2021 – ACT Meteors v Tasmanian Tigers Women – EPC Solar Park, Canberra
19 March 2021 – Tasmanian Tigers Women v SA Scorpions – EPC Solar Park (Neutral game)
21 March 2021 – ACT Meteors v SA Scorpions – EPC Solar Park, Canberra
27 March 2021 – WNCL 2021 Final – Venue TBC