Heat re-sign WBBL gun
THE Brisbane Heat have beaten off a host of rivals to secure dynamic all-rounder Grace Harris for the Women's Big Bash League later this year.
The Heat will confirm on Wednesday they have re-signed the powerful Harris, who hit the WBBL's fastest century and the second-fastest by a woman of all time, during the Heat's run to their inaugural title last season.
Harris, 25, thrashed 100 off just 42 balls against the Melbourne Stars, her second WBBL century of her career.
A quirky character who charmed TV audiences with her offbeat remarks during broadcast matches on FOX Cricket, the hard-hitting right-hander and off-spinner was often the X-factor in the multi-talented Heat squad on their way to the title.
Her strike-rate last summer of 150.40 was one of the best in the WBBL, while she also took 13 wickets at an average of 19.07, with an excellent economy rate of 5.90.
She claimed a vital 3-23 in the Final against the Sydney Sixers in the thrilling decider at Drummoyne Oval
Harris joins the Heat's Australian trio of Beth Mooney, Jess Jonassen and Delissa Kimmince in the teal for WBBL05 that will run from October through to December for the first time as a distinct competition outside of the BBL.
The Heat also confirmed former Queensland and Australian allrounder Ashley Noffke would take on the head coaching role for the coming WBBL title campaign, taking over the role vacated by Peter McGiffin at the end of the season.
Noffke, an assistant coach of the world champion Australian Women's team last year, will also take on the role as Konica Minolta Queensland Fire coach for the Women's National Cricket League season.
The Sunshine Coast product has previously worked with the Queensland Bulls as part of their support staff under coaches Darren Lehmann and Phil Jaques and was bowling coach when the Brisbane Heat won the KFC Big Bash League title in BBL02.
Assistant coach Scott Prestwidge will support Noffke with both the Heat and the Fire.
The WBBL fixtures to be announced on Wednesday feature a return to Allan Border Field which will host all of the Heat's Brisbane games including one of several "festival" weekends throughout the season on October 26 and 27.
After successful visits to Mackay and Cairns in the past two seasons, the WBBL Heat will again play regionally when they return to Harrup Park in Mackay for matches on November 2 and 3 this summer.
For the first time, WBBL matches will be ticketed with last season's sold-out WBBL final in Sydney the catalyst to take the women's game into new territory domestically.