(Australian Associated Press)
The Women’s Big Bash League will take the cricketing spotlight this October, as a stand-alone competition for the first time.
Cricket Australia released the fixture list on Wednesday with the Sydney Sixers to face city rivals Sydney Thunder under lights at North Sydney Oval on October 18.
The 59-game competition will continue until December 8, allowing the game’s leading female players to be the focal point. Previously the WBBL had coincides with the men’s competition.
Each team will play 14 matches with the finals festival weekend hosted by the top-ranked team and featuring the top four playing semi-finals before the decider.
Cricket Australia’s fan engagement general manager Anthony Everard said the stand-alone tournament was monumental for the women’s game.
“This is something we’ve been building towards and last year’s final series has proved the WBBL is ready to stand on its own two feet,” Everard said on Cricket Australia’s website.
The games will be played in cities and regional centres on Friday evenings, Saturdays and Sundays to allow for better prime time viewing.
Meanwhile, WBBL champions Brisbane Heat will be coached by former Australian ODI and T20 representative Ashley Noffke, the successor to Pete McGiffin who stood down at the end of last season.
An assistant coach of the world champion Australian women’s team last year, Noffke will also coach Queensland in the women’s national cricket league.
The Heat also announced they will re-sign allrounder Grace Harris to bolster a squad already featuring Australian internationals Beth Mooney, Jess Jonassen and Delissa Kimmince.
Elyse Villani, another Australian representative, also revealed she will leave the Perth Scorchers and return to her home state after signing with the Melbourne Stars.