Testing experience against Big Bash players to help Hornets
PROGRESSIVE Ipswich Hornets coach Wayne Bichel expected his top grade women's team to endure some testing times in this season's T20 matches.
With Queensland Fire players warming up for the next Women's Big Bash League, the young Hornets faced more accomplished cricketers.
"That's an opportunity that they do get to play,'' Bichel said.
"This is the great thing. They get feedback from them on as to how they are going and how they are not going. But it's pretty tough.''
Bichel was confident the experiences of learning how to deal with different pressure situations would make his players better.
"My philosophy with the T20s is to really use this opportunity to develop because we don't have that firepower to compete against those better sides,'' Bichel said.
"And all the girls are still learning their craft.''
While rising cousins Ruth and Ellie Johnston often held their own against higher level players, the next generation of Hornets women were gaining valuable new skills.
Bichel has been impressed with how sisters Keely and Hannah Freiberg have transitioned from vigoro to competitive cricket.
Keely is an all-rounder with Hannah working hard on her batting.
Bowlers Hannah Lehmann and Olivia Winter are also progressing well, as is wicketkeeper and top order batter Kira Holmes and bowler Rachael Lewis.
"From a development point of view, really happy how everyone is going,'' Bichel said.
"We've been working a lot on our fielding and working on our bowling strategy.''
With the one-day competition resuming this weekend and the Fire players moving on, Bichel was confident his team would build on some positive T20 performances.
The Hornets have beaten Wynnum/Redlands, University and Sunshine Coast in the 20 over format.
"The whole purpose of doing all the T20s is to get ready for the Big Bash,'' he said.
"Now those players will move into the Big Bash, which is good because now it will even out the competition.
"Those guys tend to wreak a bit of havoc because they are that next level up.''
With 50 over games in coming weeks, more Hornets players will also receive extended opportunities to shine.
The Hornets play Sandgate-Redcliffe at Baxter Oval on Sunday.
The Hornets Katherine Raymont Shield and Jodie Fields squads have been training together for two months.
The Hornets Jodie Fields team plays Norths this weekend in their 40 over format, having beaten Gold Coast in their opening match before a bye.