The Women’s National Cricket League – WNCL History, Format and Teams

Women’s cricket is a growth sport with lots of new competitions springing up, but the WNCL is one of the oldest domestic tournaments on the circuit.

Format of the WNCL

The WNCL is a 50-over competition which adheres to the laws of that format. It therefore includes powerplays, together with fielding and bowling restrictions.

Like all forms of limited overs cricket, this tournament employs a simple equation. The team who scores more runs than the opposition wins the game.

Tour Format

Seven teams are currently involved in the WNCL. In the opening stages of the competition, they will all play eight games as part of a round robin format.

Points are awarded for a win and, at the end of this phase the best two performing teams will go straight through to the final. From 1996 until 2007, a best of three series was used to determine the winner.

From the commencement of the 2006/07 season, a single match has been played to decide the winner of the trophy which is known as the Ruth Preddey Cup.

Short History of WNCL

The WNCL arose from the Australian Women’s Cricket Championships which was the major competition in the country from 1930/31 onwards. The AWCC was played as a first class tournament as this was the only format in place at the time.

The intention of the organisers was to provide a competition that could encourage the development of young players, while attracting top international cricketers at the same time.

The first edition of the WNCL featured five teams. All five of those sides still compete in the tournament which has since been expanded to seven competing teams

Beginning – 1996

The very first WNCL tournament took place in 1996/97 and it was won by the New South Wales Breakers. Playing in that three-match final, NSW beat Victoria in all three games to complete a 3-0 whitewash.

The event was well received by Australia’s cricketing supporters and the WNCL was well on its way to becoming an established women’s competition.

The Women’s National Cricket League - WNCL History, Format and Teams
New South Wales Breakers Logo

Teams

Australian Capital Territory

Australian Capital Territory, also known as the Meteors, joined the WNCL at the start of the 2009/10 competition. As of 2021/22, they are the only side yet to win the trophy.

New South Wales

New South Wales go by the nickname of the Meteors and they were original members of the WNCL. They won the very first edition of this competition back in 1996/97.

Queensland

The Queensland club are known as the Fire and they were also one of the original five teams. Their first success in the WNCL came in 2021/22 when they beat Victoria in the final.

South Australia

South Australia’s team goes by the name of the Scorpions and they play their home games at the Karen Rolton Oval. The side won their first, and so far only WNCL title when they defeated New South Wales in the final of 2015/16

Tasmania

Like Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania were late entries to the WNCL. Unlike ACT, the team known as the Tigers has won a title in this competition.

Tasmania first appeared in the WNCL in 2010/11 and that victory came in 2021/22 when they beat South Australia in the final.

Victoria

Victoria have won the WNCL on two separate occasions to date. They are known as the Vics and those victories came in 2002/03 and 2004/05,

Western Australia

Completing the set are Western Australia who carry the simple nickname of WA. Founding members of the WNCL, their solitary victory in this tournament at the time of writing came at the end of the 2019/20 season.

Most Successful Team

By far the most successful team in the history of the WNCL are the New South Wales Breakers. In the first 26 years of the competition, the side had won no fewer than 20 titles.

The Breakers’ first win came in 1996/97 while their most recent title, at the time of writing, was secured at the end of the 2018/19 season.

Conclusion

It’s great to see women’s cricket growing as a sport in the modern day with new tournaments added to the calendar on a regular basis. In Australia, it’s fair to say that the Women’s Big Bash League, (WBBL) is the biggest of them all and it’s the one that attracts the best players.

The WBBL is played as a T20 competition. As far as the 50-over format is concerned, the WNCL remains as the most popular event. As we’ve seen from this round up, it’s also one of the most historic competitions of its kind. It’s something of a ground breaker in that respect and it should be set to continue to play an important role in the development of the women’s game.