The Scorchers become the third club in three years to enter the Katherine Raymont Shield following the formation of a combined Wynnum-Manly/Redlands team last season and Ipswich/Logan joining in 2018-19.
They join Western Suburbs, the University of Queensland, Valley, Gold Coast and Sandgate-Redcliffe in making up an eight-team competition for the 2020-21 season.
Sunshine Coast’s promotion to first grade follows the club’s back-to-back premierships in the past two seasons of the Jodie Fields Shield, Queensland Premier Cricket’s Second Grade Women’s competition, and marks a period of significant growth for female cricket in the Sunshine Coast region.
On top of the Scorchers’ two Jodie Fields Shield championships since entering the competition in 2014-15, the Sunshine Coast Cricket Association launched a local women’s cricket competition in 2016-17 that has grown to eight teams.
Sunshine Coast men’s first grade stalwart and Queensland Academy of Sport representative Ashley Renouf will coach the Scorchers in their maiden Katherine Raymont Shield campaign. Renouf, a Queensland Indigenous representative, also coached Queensland’s female side at this year’s National Indigenous Cricket Championships.
Queensland Cricket General Manager of Performance, Pathways and Coaching Bennett King said the promotion of the Scorchers to first grade would provide a clear pathway for Sunshine Coast female cricketers looking to play at the highest level.
“Bringing the Scorchers into first grade is a great opportunity for female cricketers in the Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay regions to reach their potential and is reflective of the growth women’s cricket has experienced in recent years.
“Importantly, it means homegrown talent can remain on the Sunshine Coast to play premier cricket. The success of the Scorchers in winning back-to-back Jodie Fields Shields has been driven by the performances of underage representative players such as Tara Staines, Taylor Stumer and Lucy Hamilton who all played for the Queensland Under 15 team and can now test themselves at a higher level.
“Full credit must go to Sunshine Coast President John Hope and the entire Scorchers club who have worked tirelessly in developing their female teams and talent to bring this opportunity to life.”
Sunshine Coast Cricket Association President John Hope said the elevation to first grade would play a key role in retaining talent in the region.
“Sunshine Coast Cricket is proud that our young Scorchers have earned promotion to the Katherine Raymont Shield Competition after two successful seasons in the Jodie Fields Shield. Our players will now have exposure to the state’s top level of female competition.
"The continuing mission has been to establish pathways whereby any young Sunshine Coast player, male or female, can learn our sport through a local club, move into senior ranks and progress to the highest levels without leaving home.
"This demonstrates the reality of our ambition, and we are grateful to Premier Cricket for the wonderful opportunity.”
Recent talent from the Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay regions to play for the Queensland Fire and Brisbane Heat include Lilly Mills, Courtney Sippel and Australian World Cup star Beth Mooney.