Oh so very very close!
Our first grade women went down by the narrowest of margins to the Sunshine Coast in the Katherine Raymont Shield T20 final at Ian Healy Oval last night with the result in question right up until until the final ball.
Wests wielded the willow first but got off to a disastrous start when in-form bat Annie Wikman was run out for a diamond duck in the first over. Ryleigh Wotherspoon and Naiya Varidel consolidated, with very sharp Sunnie Coast bowling and fielding making scoring very difficult. Ryleigh was dismissed for 14 in the sixth over, and the girls were under some pressure with two wickets down and only 24 runs on the board. Naiya began to crack some drives, but exceptional fielding by the Sunshine Coast girls continued to make scoring difficult. No.4 bat Holly Ferling was caught at slip in the the ninth over for one, bringing Olivia Steel to the crease.
A sharp, heavy squall briefly stopped play in the tenth over, but provided alternative entertainment for spectators as they watched ground staff and players fight to get the wildly-flapping covers onto the wicket! The covers momentarily threatened to blow back over the clubhouse and carry everyone attached with it, but after some tense/entertaining moments the tarp was wrestled onto the pitch and the rain promptly stopped!
Play resumed and a couple of overs later Naiya was trapped LBW for 15, and Wests were in trouble at 4 for 46.
Valiant rearguard batting by Olivia Steel (who top-scored with 19) with support from Isabel Goffage and Olivia Hartland got the girls through the 20 overs with nine wickets down and 89 runs up.
Wests turned up the pressure early in the Sunshine Coast innings with Holly Ferling leading the charge in tandem with Ashleigh Sims with the support of great fielding. Both bowled very tight opening spells and Holly removed both openers, restricting the Coast girls to 2/12 off the first four overs and edging Wests back into contention.
The Sunnie Coast ladies steadied and took the score to 41 on the eleventh over before offie Lilli Hamilton bowled Mikayla Wrigley for 21 just as she was starting to accelerate. Again, the Sunshine Coast bats worked their way back into the lead, taking the score to 3/59 after 15 overs, with the winning equation 31 off 30 balls. Lilli struck again in the sixteenth over, removing captain Emma McCord for 17, and Annie Wikman removed Lucy Hamilton in the eighteenth, and Olivia Hartland and Ryleigh combined for a runout just two balls later.
Suddenly an improbable Wests win began to look possible with six Sunshine Coast wickets down and 13 runs to get off 12 balls. but Coast hitter Charlotte Lutz was ominously starting to find her range.
Holly took the ball for the penultimate over, restricting the scoring to a run a ball, until the last ball of the over when Charlotte Lutz punched the ball to the deep cover boundary but was run out by Ash and Holly diving for her ground attempting a third run .
So it came down to six runs required off the last over with the number 9 and 10 Sunshine Coast batters at the crease and with Ash Sims with the ball in her hands.
Dot. Runout! going for two. Two more singles.
Three need to win with two balls remaining! Wests two runs ahead.
Heavy strike and they take they take two. Short run! The umpire’s pointing to his shoulder and Wests are one in front with one ball to come!
Annie brings the field in tight, cutting off the singles.
A lusty blow pings the ball over the infield. Two runs and the Sunshine Coast have won by one run on the final ball!
Congratulations on a fantastic fighting performance girls. Bad luck on the loss but that was a highly entertaining game and a fantastic final! Nice work!!
- Olivia Steel 19 (27)
- Naiya Varidel 15 (25)
- Ryleigh Wotherspoon 14 (19)
- Isabel Goffage 10 (14)
- Lilli Hamilton 2/7 (4)
- Holly Ferling 2/13 (4)
- Annie Wikman 1/26 (3)