There just aren’t enough superlatives to describe Kinross’ Phoebe Litchfield, there hasn’t been for some time in fact.
With a long history of success at just about every level she already genuinely boasted teen prodigy status but thanks to her dazzling effort at the Cricket Australia Under-18 Women’s National Championship she’s once again left one question one everyone’s lips – just how high is this young lady’s ceiling?
At just 15 years of age Litchfield was easily the Cricket Australia XI’s best at the two-week carnival at Bendigo and Ballarat, topping the side’s run-scoring list and, incredibly, topping the tournament’s overall ranks too.
Although her side didn’t reach the Twenty20 finals and narrowly missed a place in the 50-over decider too, Litchfield’s performance was a silver lining for the composite side.
In fact, it completely justified the outfit’s presence at the tournament, considering it was designed to offer an opportunity for younger players not selected in their home state’s line-ups.
She eventually finished the tournament with 348 runs at an average of 43.5, 154 of those coming in the shortest format and the other 194 in the longer-form, one-day stage of the carnival.
She knocked up a half-ton in the T20s as well, but it was in the one-day games where she truly shone, averaging almost 65 across three games and blasting another half-ton and a sparkling century to boot.
One of just two tons scored at the carnival – the other came from Victoria Metro’s Annabel Sutherland – Litchfield marched to 103 from 123 balls against Victoria Country in her side’s penultimate one-day game, smashing 12 boundaries and a maximum along the way.
In that game she combined with opening bat Ruth Johnston (31) in a 66-run, second-wicket stand before taking charge and leading the Aussie XI to 242.
She picked up a catch – her fifth, on the way to six for the carnival – in that game too as Victoria Country fell for 136 in reply.
She took another in the Cricket Australia XI’s final game of the carnival, the one-day third-place play-off, as her side restricted Queensland to 230.
The youngster looked good when she came to the crease at 1-8 too, working her way to a composed 24 from 47 balls as she looked to anchor the Aussie XI’s chase.
It wasn’t to be though, three wickets had already fallen around her and while she looked somewhat likely to go on to another big score, Litchfield was the fifth bat to go after being trapped leg before by Lilly Mills.
That looked to end any real chance the side had of chasing successfully, they were 5-84 through 21 overs at time of publication.
NSW Metro eventually claimed the 50-over title with a crushing, 60-run win over ACT/NSW Country.
DO YOU WANT MORE ORANGE SPORT?
- Receive our free newsletters delivered to your inbox, as well as breaking news alerts. Sign up below …