Newcastle’s Maisy Gibson has a major task ahead of her – guide Universities to back-to-back titles in the Women’s Premier Cricket competition in Sydney.
After leading the squad to their first premiership since the 2013/14 season, the NSW Breakers leg-spinner says she’s “excited” to aim for similar honours in the 2018/19 season, and is looking forward to kicking the campaign off with a bang.
Universities’ league pathway back to the finals starts with a familiar foe – St George-Sutherland will be their opening opponent in Round 2, after their season began with the bye.
St George-Sutherland, who drew with Northern District in their opening outing, was the team Gibson’s outfit downed by 137 runs in the grand final last season, and revenge will likely be on the mind of the 2017/18 runners-up.
Despite the tricky opening fixture, Newcastle’s 22-year-old cricket queen is just looking forward to getting back out onto the field for the inner-city team, and to see all her Universities teammates.
“I’m excited to see (all the younger girls), I see them improve every season and so it’s great to get out there and see what they’ve been doing in their off-season,” Gibson said.
“Most of the girls that do play Grade cricket, if they are under age, they are in the Cricket NSW (Pathway) programs, so it’s good to see how much they’ve improved since we finished in March.”
Gibson claimed 21 wickets for her club last season at the impressive average of just 11. Her best figures came in the semi-final victory against Gordon when she returned 5-16 from 10 overs.
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Newcastle’s spin-bowling representative believes the minor premiers from last season, Bankstown Sports, will again be tough to beat.
“They always put on a good performance when we play them especially.”
Gibson said she was also interested to see how the reigning Second Grade champions will go after being promoted to the top grade.
“I’m looking forward to see how Parramatta will go being bumped up.”
She also thinks the team that perennially slips under the radar from year to year, Gordon, will again be vying for the title.
“They’re always a little bit sneaky going through. They don’t have many Breakers’ players, but they’ve got a good group of girls that get along great, so it’s always a challenge playing them as well.”
See Gibson and Universities’ full fixture list from this weekend until February 24 here.