Barossa crowds gather for WBBL spectacle

Megan Schutt bowling for the Strikers.

Almost 2,000 spectators gathered at Nuriootpa’s Centennial Park Oval on Saturday to watch the Adelaide Strikers thump the Melbourne Stars by 57 runs in the first WBBL match played in regional South Australia.

The atmosphere was electric, with punters arriving at the ground as early as 10 a.m. to claim prime position to watch the action unfold.

In a display of all-round dominance, New Zealand import and star Striker Sophie Devine entertained with a knock of 77 not out, which included five boundaries and three sixes, then going on to take 3/13 with the ball.

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The Strikers’ batting innings delighted the crowd, with Devine supported by allrounder, Bridget Patterson, who also found (and cleared) the boundary on multiple occasions.

The Adelaide side were impressed by the country facilities, with Nuriootpa Cricket Club members working hard in the lead-up, and on the day, to make the game a success.

“The matches we play in regional towns are always a huge success,” Head Coach, Luke Williams said.

“We know how invested country crowds are in sport and on Saturday, they were noisy and cheering and seemed to be really enjoying themselves.

“Nuriootpa put on a fantastic day and we’re really appreciative of the sheer volume of work that goes into putting on an event like this.”

In what was an important win for the Strikers to continue momentum heading into a tough run of matches, the bowlers did the job just as the batters did, restricting the Stars to just 8/96.

Nuriootpa Cricket Club opened the bar, which was a popular gathering point on the day, while the kiosk and barbecue also helped to inject funds back in to the club, nourishing the crowd.

Kapunda player Darcie Brown was named in the 13-player squad for the clash, however missed out on final XI selection.

“It was great having Darcie with the group that travelled to Nuriootpa,” Williams said.

“Even though she didn’t play on the day, it was special for her to put on the blue and be there in front of her home crowd. 

“There’s no doubt she has a bright future ahead and will have her opportunity to make an impact in the WBBL at some point.”