The Canberra pace bowling duo of Nicola Hancock and Zoe Cooke will link with the Heat for the WBBL, joining their Brisbane-based teammates in Hobart next week to prepare for the opening rounds of the tournament that will take place in Tasmania.
Hancock, 25, performed strongly for the Heat in her first season last year, taking 11 wickets at 22.90, and has re-signed for a second summer with the club.
Cooke, an athletic allrounder, has fought back from a career-threatening back injury, and caught the eye of Heat coach Ashley Noffke during her WNCL season with the ACT Meteors last season where she had the team’s best economy rate of 3.97.
“Zoe didn’t play in the Meteors' win over Queensland early in the season as she was coming back from her injury, but we certainly had our eye on her by the end of the WNCL tournament,’’ Noffke said.
“Nic Hancock did a great job for us last year and as we were keen to reinforce our pace stocks for WBBL|07, Zoe looked to be a very good fit for us,’’ he said.
“She can swing the new ball and is a good mover in the field. She has worked very hard to get back from injury with the Meteors and we’re really pleased to be able to offer her the opportunity to further her cricket career in the WBBL.”
“I know both girls are looking forward to playing some games in Queensland, with both having family living here,’’ he said.
Noffke said they were excited to be on the verge of bringing the squad together next week.
Cooke, who was included in the Meteors squad as a 15-year-old rookie, has previously been tied to the Melbourne Renegades in the WBBL without playing a game for them.
Now 26, she forced her way back into the Meteors squad originally after winning Cricket ACT's women's player of the year title on four consecutive occasions.
The Queensland-based Heat players have been able to play T20 matches for the past three weekends of the Katherine Raymont Shield in the KFC Queensland Premier Cricket competition after starting the season with one-day games.
Heat batting spearheads Grace Harris (317 runs at 52.83), Laura Kimmince (318 runs at 106) and Mikayla Hinkley (318 runs at 63.5) have seen their healthy scoring eclipsed by young gun Charli Knott, who has amassed 477 runs at 95.5 as a top order batter for University of Queensland.
Another pair of rising Heat stars has been eye-catching with the ball with Georgia Voll taking 12 wickets and Courtney Sippel 11 wickets while Georgia Prestwidge has claimed 10 dismissals so far.
Noffke and the locally based Heat players have also broadened their preparations to include scenario based ‘opposed’ T20 training under lights at Norths at Kalinga this week against players from the male Queensland Youth Pathways system coached by ex-Test and Queensland and Brisbane Heat quick Ryan Harris.
The Heat has one spot left to complete its 15-player squad.
The WBBL Heat has announced the following signings for WBBL|07: Jess Jonassen (c), Anneke Bosch (int), Zoe Cooke, Nadine de Klerk (Int), Nicola Hancock, Grace Harris, Ellie Johnston, Laura Kimmince, Mikayla Hinkley, Charli Knott, Georgia Prestwidge, Georgia Redmayne, Courtney Sippel, Georgia Voll.