Eighteen-year-old all-rounder Olivia Porter described being recruited by Sydney Thunder ahead of the final two matches of the Rebel Women’s Big Bash League’s regular season as a “shock”.
Porter, who is captained by respected Thunder stalwart Alex Blackwell at Universities in the Women’s Premier Cricket competition, was signed as a local replacement player following Nida Dar’s sudden recall to Pakistan to prepare for next month’s T20 series against England.
“I was shocked when I received the phone call, but this is a great opportunity,” said Porter before heading to Canberra for Wednesday’s match against the Melbourne Stars at Manuka Oval.
“I’m really excited to be around such experienced players. I’ll be talking and watching them, and seeing their routines. I want to get some insights into how they prepare for big games.”
Thunder coach Trevor Griffin said Porter – who has captained the CA XI at the Cricket Australia Under-18 Female Championships – had been on the club’s radar.
"Olivia is an exciting player who has been spoken about as a player who we should be looking at for the future,” he said.
“This is a great opportunity to bring her in, to be around the team and experience the WBBL. It’s a great opportunity for myself and the other coaches to have a look at her.”
Griffin said the club has shown its support for Porter by choosing to sign her rather than chasing an overseas star as Thunder fight to keep their finals aspirations alive.
“We’re still in the competition. We could’ve looked overseas, but once you take everything in consideration, I back the players we have in the group to do the job.”
Griffin said he took heart from last Sunday’s tough Super Over loss to the Adelaide Strikers in Hobart because of the character Thunder displayed to chase down the Strikers mammoth total of 160.
“We did fantastically well to chase that score against the Strikers and put ourselves in a Super Over,” he said.
“It’s cruel to lose games that way, but what we saw with ‘Priesty’ [Rachel Priest] by the way she struck the ball at the top and then ‘Treno’ [Rachel Trenaman] coming in late in the innings to take the game to Strikers said a lot.
“Wednesday’s game against the Melbourne Stars is a really important match for us, and it won’t be an easy one. The Stars are coming off a strong win against the Renegades, but Sydney Thunder is focussed and ready to go.”
Thunder take on the Stars at Manuka Oval on Wednesday 27 November at 2:30pm. The match will be streamed live on cricket.com.au and Kayo.
Tickets are now on sale at sydneythunder.com.au/tickets, with free entry for kids and $10 for adults. All Thunder Members also get free entry to Manuka Oval.
Match and entertainment information is available here.
WBBL Squad vs Melbourne Stars
Rachael Haynes (C) (15)
Samantha Bates (34)
Alex Blackwell (2)
Hannah Darlington (25)
Rene Farrell (88)
Lisa Griffith (54)
Saskia Horley (23)
Shabnim Ismail (89)
Phoebe Litchfield (36)
Olivia Porter (73)
Rachel Priest (3)
Naomi Stalenberg (10)
Rachel Trenaman (8)