'Overwhelming' feeling for Newcastle spinner Samantha Bates after claiming maiden WBBL crown

CHAMPION: Samantha Bates. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong
CHAMPION: Samantha Bates. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

A COVID-19 bubble, a team kept to 86 and finally holding aloft the WBBL trophy.

It was an "overwhelming" emotion for Newcastle spinner Samantha Bates, who claimed 1-18 and continued her strong form this tournament to help the Sydney Thunder comfortably defeat the Melbourne Stars in Saturday night's final.

Bates, five seasons on from missing the inaugural decider and just 35 days on from round one, took a moment to reflect at North Sydney Oval after clinching the national women's T20 title.

"It was so overwhelming," Bates told the Newcastle Herald on Sunday.

"I sat out on the pitch with [Thunder captain] Rach Haynes, looked at her and said 'how did we win that game?'"

"We were definitely the underdogs going into the final. We said as a group we've done the hard work, let's just go out and have a good time one last time.

"All of a sudden you look up and the Stars are 5-30."

The 28-year-old said she still felt "shell shocked" and it would take a "few days to sink in", after the Thunder restricted the minor premiers to less than 100 then chased down the total with seven wickets and 38 balls in hand.

The victory ensured Bates made up for the 2015-16 showdown, which she watched from the sidelines because of injury after taking the Thunder's first WBBL wicket earlier that campaign.

"Unfortunately I didn't get to play when we won in [WBBL] 01. At one stage I didn't think I was going to get it back in my cricket career, so it was a very nice feeling," she said.

The left-arm orthodox spinner credited the Thunder's bowling group, who shared eight wickets between six players.

"That was out best bowling performance this entire tournament," she said.

More than half of Melbourne's innings was dot balls.

Bates had been 0-7 after her first over, delivered during the power play and featuring a fifth-ball six to Australian skipper Meg Lanning (13).

She bounced back with the wicket of Stars No.4 Nat Sciver (11), caught by Haynes at cover at the end of the 10th over to have the Victorian franchise 4-36.

The second part of the dig produced 5-50, including another two tight overs from Bates. She wasn't required to bat in reply.

This saw the Novocastrian finish inside the top five WBBL wicket takers with 18.

The first game was played on October 25 with squads staying in a "hub" at Homebush because of coronavirus restrictions.

Last week Bates was named in the WBBL team of the tournament and extended her contract with the Thunder for another two summers.

She will now spend some time with family in Newcastle before returning to Tasmania ahead of the 50-over WNCL, which is set to start after Christmas.

This story 'Overwhelming' feeling for Bates after claiming maiden WBBL crown first appeared on Newcastle Herald.