Former Scone junior Kirsten Smith captaining Newcastle Blasters in inaugural Women's Regional Bash Finals at SCG

Gifted cricketer set to have a 'blast'

FORMER Upper Hunter cricketer Kirsten Smith is set to have a "blast" in the upcoming Women's Regional Bash Finals.

Some of the best female players in country NSW will take part in the inaugural event at the hallowed Sydney Cricket Ground on Tuesday, January 21.

The ACT Aces are playing the Illawarra Flames in the Thunder Conference decider, with the successful team meeting the winner of the Sixers Conference showdown between the Newcastle Blasters - skippered by Smith - and the Coffs Coast Chargers under the SCG lights to play-off for the Women's Regional Bash Trophy.

All four teams are captained by quality youngsters who have regularly received higher honours.

The Aces are led by 20-year-old Kelly Rowlings, who has played for the NSW Country team, the Bush Breakers, as a batter.

Like many of the players, having the chance to compete at the SCG is a dream come true for her.

"I'd probably be thinking about all the people who have batted and bowled on that field in the past and who are currently playing there," Rowlings said.

"All the things that have happened on that ground, there are so many big games and big names you can think of, I'd imagine it would get the blood pumping."

Flames coach Craig Howsan said the lure of playing at the SCG was great motivation.

"Everyone is stoked to be able to play on the SCG," he added.

"It's going to be an unbelievable opportunity for all involved."

Flames captain Emma Coughlan-Ryan is a former NSW under-aged pathways player and big-hitting teammate Joanne Kelly has represented the NSW Bush Breakers for the past two years.

Chargers skipper all-rounder Kate Jackson is also the leader of the NSW Bush Breakers and teammate Naomi McDonald is one of the most promising regional players in the country.

Smith, meanwhile, opens the batting for the Breakers.

Her dad used to drive the 650km round trip from Scone to Sydney each Sunday in summer, just so she could play cricket.

The now 20-year-old continues to line up in the state capital with Northern Districts, has twice donned the NSW Country cap at national championships and even reached World Cup level with the Australian under-17 indoor side.

Finals schedule

10am: Sixers Conference Final

Newcastle Blasters v Coffs Coast Chargers

2pm: Thunder Conference Final

ACT Aces v Illawarra Flames

6pm: Women's Regional Bash Final

Winner Sixers and Thunder Conference Finals

Women's Regional Bash Squads

ACT Aces

Kelly Rowlings (c)

Julia Bassett

Georgia Bye

Elizabeth Coper-Jones

Monica Gair

Caitlin Galeano

Jess Galeano

Amy Jason-Jones

Janet King

Victoria King

Jamie Kneebone

Jessie Mudaliar

Cherie Taylor

Illawarra Flames

Emma Coughlan-Ryan (c)

Kaelah Austin

Chantelle Downey

Madison Greenhalgh

Samantha Henness

Sophie Heath

Joanne Kelly

Kate Lee

Issabella Savelli

Louise Tonge

Lauren Woods

Naomi Woods

Ashleigh Yeaman

Coffs Coast Chargers

Kate Jackson (c)

Jo Borger

Ellynie Cameron

Keisha Dowsett

Hannah Faux

Georgie Martin

Sophie Mavros

Naomi McDonald

Rilee O'Loughlan

Alisha Phoonie

Emma Ross

Kate Rowlands

Grace Wilson

Newcastle Blasters

Kirsten Smith (c)

Sarah Burns

Alethea Graham

Kate Hanley

Emma Jane Howe

Skye Lovett

Megan McDonald

Maddie McGuigan

Cassie McLaren

Milah Riley

Clare Webber

Millie Kohl

This story Gifted cricketer set to have a 'blast' first appeared on Hunter Valley News.