The Melbourne Renegades has roped in for the formidable South Africa opener Lizelle Lee across from the Melbourne Stars. Alongside her, Sophie Molineux has signed to a new two-year deal. She was the Renegades Player of the Season in the fourth edition of the league and has played 53 games so far since her debut in WBBL 01.
WBBL 05 squad members Carly Leeson, Courtney Neale and Makinley Blows have also re-signed, whereas the club has also secured 16-year-old Ella Hayward. Hayward played a key role in last season’s under-18 National Championships, scoring 233 runs (3rd most overall) at an average of 46.8 with the bat and picking up 17 wickets at 11.73 with her off-spin.
Lizelle Lee, on the other hand, has two WBBL centuries to her name and scored 475 runs at a strike rate of 131.94 in the last season.
“I’m thrilled to be heading back to the WBBL and joining a new team will provide some extra motivation,” Lee said. “The Renegades have done well recently and hopefully I can make a positive impact. I’ve had the pleasure of playing against a lot of these players in the WBBL and internationally, but it’ll be nice to be on the same team this time.”
However, Molineux had an interrupted 12-month period where she battled with her shoulder and quad injuries and took a break to focus on her mental health.
“I truly appreciate the opportunity to remain at the Renegades for another two seasons,” Molineux said. “It has been a special privilege to be a part of the club since the beginning of the WBBL. In that time it’s been a huge highlight to have formed some really incredible friendships with many people across the club.”
She said, “It feels as though every year the competition reaches a new standard and so it’s another exciting challenge for us this season. I’m very much looking forward to it.”
On the other hand, Lizelle Lee is the first overseas player to sign for the Renegades for WBBL 06. With Molineux and Georgia Wareham holding marquee status, the Renegades can have two international players more in their squad. While New Zealand duo Amy Satterthwaite and Lea Tahuhu have played for the club but nothing yet decided for the upcoming tournament.
“Both Molineux and Lee bring great experience from the international stage and we’ve seen what they can produce at WBBL level,” new Renegades coach Lachlan Stevens said. “Sophie has got the skill and talent to impact games with bat and ball and Lizelle can be one of the hardest hitters in the game.”
England players Danni Wyatt and Tammy Beaumont (brought in as a replacement player for Amy Satterthwaite) have played for Renegades in WBBL 05, although opener Lee’s inclusion could see Wyatt, who opened alongside Molineux last season, join any other team.
However, the Renegades have 12 players in their 15-player squad for WBBL 06 while the contracting period running until September 25, prior to the season starts on October 17.
Melbourne Renegades WBBL 06 squad (so far):
Makinley Blows, Maitlan Brown, Josie Dooley, Jess Duffin, Ella Hayward, Lizelle Lee, Carly Leeson, Sophie Molineux, Courtney Neale, Molly Strano, Georgia Wareham, Courtney Webb.