Falconer flying high ahead of big final on ‘home’ turf

25 Nov 2021 | 06:41 | Cricket

After switching from the Adelaide Strikers in the off-season, the Melbourne Renegades fast bowler will come up against some familiar faces for a place in the WBBL|07 decider

Ellie Falconer waited a long time to be part of a Weber WBBL final, so it is fitting the Melbourne Renegades fast bowler will come up against her old side, at her home ground of Adelaide Oval on Thursday evening.

A highly rated young speedster who signed her first Big Bash deal while she was still in high school, Falconer spent four years on the Adelaide Strikers’ list.

But the strength of the club’s pace-bowling stocks meant she was unable to break into their XI over three seasons, before she missed the entire 2020-21 summer thanks to a stress fracture in her foot.

Seeking a change in scenery – and realising games would continue to be difficult to come by in a Strikers side featuring four current or former international quicks in Megan Schutt, Darcie Brown, Tahlia McGrath and Sarah Coyte – Falconer accepted a contract to join the Renegades for WBBL|07.

Fit and ready to return to the field after a full preseason with South Australia, Falconer debuted in Melbourne’s season opener against the Hobart Hurricanes and has not looked back, playing every game of WBBL|07.

“I just jumped at the chance, I was ready for a bit of a change and something new,” Falconer told cricket.com.au of her decision to move clubs.

“It was going to be tough to crack into that XI, so when the opportunity came, I grabbed it with both hands and I’m loving it here so far.

“It’s been a long time, I spent quite a few games running drinks and that sort of thing so it’s nice to finally get to experience from a playing point of view.”

The 22-year-old is the Renegades’ equal-second highest wicket taker behind spinner Harmanpreet Kaur, and the South Australian native is one of several players in red who will rival the Strikers for home support on Thursday, alongside fellow Scorpions Courtney Webb and Josie Dooley.

The right-armer has particularly relished the chance to work with Renegades coach Simon Helmot, crediting his laid-back approach – one that is matched by the calm attitude of captain Sophie Molineux – for the good vibes among the group.

“He’s so laid back and casual and just calm and yet just really reinforces a positive attitude for all of us,” she said.

“They’re both so calm and I think it’s really good for the group.

“I’ve loved it, it’s a really, really good group of girls and a really good group of support staff and the coaching staff are just excellent. You cannot say a bad word about anyone here and I’ve really enjoyed my time with them.”

The Renegades had a somewhat lacklustre end to the regular season after a 10-day break between games, edging home against the Sydney Thunder before back-to-back losses to the Hobart Hurricanes and Brisbane Heat.

But Falconer was adamant the club could bounce back for Thursday’s final, where they will run into a Strikers side full of momentum after their eight-wicket thumping of the Heat in Wednesday’s Eliminator.

“Everyone’s just looking forward to getting back out there and bringing the spark back into our group which is what we’ve had for the majority of the season,” she said.

“We had a couple of tough losses in the last couple of games but we’re just looking forward to the final on Thursday.”