Sydney Thunder has paid tribute to champion bowler Rene Farrell after she announced her retirement from all cricket following the team’s final game of the season against the Melbourne Renegades.
Farrell, who represented Australia in a total of 101 matches, finished her Rebel Women's Big Bash League career at the batting crease, scoring an unconquered 14 runs in Thunder’s unsuccessful run chase.
However, Farrell’s efforts to snare 79 wickets in her 66 matches for Sydney Thunder is testimony to her reputation as one of the WBBL’s most respected bowlers.
The 32-year-old admitted that being invited by Alex Blackwell – another Thunder legend who retired on Sunday – to join her in the post-match guard of honour that was formed by Thunder, the Renegades, Melbourne Stars and Brisbane Heat squads crowned an emotion-charged day.
“It was lovely of ‘Al’ to invite me to enjoy that moment… very special,” said Farrell. “My reputation is gone now, I had a few tears on TV, but it is special.”
After acknowledging the belief she has in Thunder’s future because of the quality, and character, of young players including Hannah Darlington, Tahlia Wilson, Phoebe Litchfield, Rachel Trenaman and Saskia Horley, Farrell said she had a few more overs to bowl.
“I still have 50-overs cricket with the NSW Breakers,” she said. “Hopefully I can go out on a high there like we did for Alex's career and winning that [after announcing her retirement from state cricket last year].
“I have a bit of cricket left, [but this send off with Sydney Thunder] was really special.”
Blackwell said she didn’t hesitate to share the spotlight of an extraordinary guard of honour by the four WBBL teams because Farrell’s big-hearted performances for Thunder over the years meant she deserved the recognition.
“I couldn’t have that send off without sharing it with her,” Blackwell said. “She’s been an absolute legend of the game; really valuable – especially in T20.
“She’s a big loss, a wonderful character. She’s been an incredible servant of the game and it’s easy to get emotional when you think of her contribution.”
Thunder’s Acting General Manager Chris Botherway said Farrell would be remembered as a player whose quick wit, and warmth towards her teammates and staff members, was as important to the club as her obvious talent as a strike bowler.
“Rene Farrell is a well-loved member of Sydney Thunder, and her ability to instil confidence in her teammates with her bright – but fiercely competitive – nature is a rare gift,” he said.
“Just as we praised Alex Blackwell for helping to shape the character of this club, we afford the same tribute to Rene. Her contribution to the success and culture of Sydney Thunder is impossible to measure.
“She is also an important figure in our history, being the first signing the club announced and having a starring role in our WBBL|01 triumph.
“Rene was signed because of the many positive aspects it was thought she could bring to Thunder. Anyone who knows her will testify she exceeded all expectations.”