After finishing third – heartbreakingly short of reaching the Grand Final – in the 2020-21 season, the Tigers stocks have been bolstered by the inclusion of the 2020-21 WNCL Player of the Season, Elyse Villani, who has inked a two-year deal with the Tigers. A right-hander, Villani scored three hundreds and two fifties in her nine innings during the 2020-21 WNCL, finishing the tournament with an impressive average of 87.
Making the move over Bass Strait from Victoria, Villani will be joined at the Tigers by another former Victorian, Molly Strano. The T20 World Cup-winning off-spinner is a name that has been synonymous with Victorian cricket over the past decade, and she continued her good form in the WNCL in the 2020-21 season, taking 14 wickets at an average of 14, before she was selected as a member of the Australian squad for their tour of New Zealand in the back half of the season.
The Victorian duo will be joined by another new face in 17-year-old Hayley Silver-Holmes. Despite her age, the teenager already has a wealth of experience at the highest level to her name, having spent several years as a part of the New South Wales Breakers and Sydney Sixers programs, as well as having represented Australia at the Under 19 level. Although she played just four of the Breakers’ WNCL fixtures in season 2020-21, the right arm medium-fast bowler still came away with seven wickets to her name.
The Tigers joint WNCL Player of the Season for 2020-21, Nicola Carey, remains a part of the squad as a Cricket Australia contracted player, whilst Maisy Gibson, Corinne Hall, Sasha Moloney, Rachel Priest and Amy Smith have all inked new deals.
With Emma Thompson announcing her pregnancy to the team during the 2020-21 season, she will be replaced on the Tigers list by Emma Manix-Geeves for 2021-22, whilst she takes maternity leave. Manix-Geeves earns herself another Tigers contract off the back of a stellar season in the Cricket Tasmania Premier League (CTPL). Manix-Geeves finished the season by earning the League’s highest individual honour – the Kim Fazackerley Medal – awarded to the Player of the Season. Manix-Geeves finished the 2020-21 CTPL season with a total 597 runs at an average of 59.70, including one century and four half-centuries.
Outgoing members of the squad include spinner, Samantha Bates, who has secured a contract with Victoria, Brooke Hepburn, who has announced her retirement from the sport, and Meg Phillips, who has not received a contract.
Head coach of the Tigers female program, Salliann Beams, said it was shaping up to be an incredibly exciting season for Tasmanian female cricket.
“It’s a really exciting group of players we’ve got here at the Tigers. We’ve worked to build both our program and our list over the past few years, and with the additions to our playing group this year, it’s a testament to the staff and players within our program – as well as the wider organisation - that we have players of this calibre wanting to be a part of our team.
“Through this and our Journey 25 vision, we are building both a team that has what it takes to bring home that WNCL title, but also a team that can continue to inspire the next generation of Tasmanian girls to believe that cricket is truly a career they can take to the highest level if they wish.”
The majority of the Tigers squad have re-convened in Tasmania this week following their leave period to begin their pre-season program.
In: Emma Manix-Geeves, Hayley Silver-Holmes, Molly Strano, Elyse Villani
Out: Samantha Bates, Brooke Hepburn, Meg Phillips
Squad: Chloe Abel, Nicola Carey (CA contracted player), Maisy Gibson, Heather Graham, Corinne Hall, Emma Manix-Geeves, Sasha Moloney, Rachel Priest, Hayley Silver-Holmes, Amy Smith, Emily Smith, Naomi Stalenberg, Molly Strano, Emma Thompson (maternity leave 2021-22), Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani.