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Thatscricket - News - Spirits reign supreme, crowned WNCL champs

Published: Saturday, January 18, 2003, 20:18 [IST]
 
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The Victoria Spirit has ended the NSWIS Blues six-year reign as the champions of the WNCL.In the best of three finals, the Spirit won 2-0 to regain the Ruth Preddey Cup, which it last won in 1995/96 (also defeating NSW).The MCG provided a perfect backdrop for the two best teams in the WNCL. Friday saw the Blues win the toss and elect to bat. A new opening combination was tried unsuccessfully as Leah Poulton was bowled by Cathryn Fitzpatrick for 1. The Spirit bowling was very tight as the Blues was restricted to just 32 runs in the first 17 overs. Michelle Goszko was next to fall, caught by 'keeper Amelie Hunter off the bowling of Jodie Dean (38/2). Alex Blackwell attempted to lift the tempo before she was next out, bowled by Louise Broadfoot (62/3).Lisa Sthalekar provided some impetus to the innings, scoring 29 off 34 before she was caught spectacularly by Mel Jones at cover off a Fitzpatrick full toss (116/4). Leonie Coleman then added a quick-fire 20 off 15 balls (run out) and Kate Blackwell 10 off 14 (bowled Fitzpatrick) before the 200 was brought up off the last ball of the innings.Opener Lisa Keightley was the backbone of the Blues innings with an unbeaten 94 off 156.Fitzpatrick was the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 31 while Dean and Broadfoot took one each.The Spirit reply started positively with both openers bringing up their 50s - Broadfoot was the first wicket to fall, run out for 52 (111/1). Jones scored 33 off 44 before she was also run out (166/2).With the Spirit looking for a comfortable victory, some tight bowling and clean fielding saw the Blues make the match more even. With one over to go, the Blues had taken a further 4 wickets for only 26 runs (192/6).Eight runs were required off the last over to be bowled by Sthalekar - thefirst 5 balls saw 6 runs scored and one wicket fall. Two runs were required from the final ball but Megan Foster smacked a 4 over mid-wicket to win(203/7).The Spirit won the toss and elected to bat on the Saturday. The Blues bowleda much better line to restrict the Spirit to 181 all out. Clark again dominated with 63 off 107. Jones chipped in with 29, Kelly Applebee and Brooke McFarlane 17 each, and Broadfoot and Jane Franklin 16 each. Julie Hayes took 3 for 23 and was well supported by Bronwyn Calver with 2 for 33.Keightley and Shannon Cunneen opened the innings and were looking comfortable before an unheard call caused the run out of Cunneen (10) as the Spirit was appealing for lbw against the same batter (12/1). Keightley was unable to repeat her efforts of the day before as she was run out for 4 (18/2). The fall of Goszko (caught Clark bowled Dean for 13) and Alex Blackwell (caught Applebee bowled Dean 17) saw the Blues at 56/4.Sthalekar and Coleman resurrected the chase somewhat with a partnership of 50 before Coleman was caught and bowled by Foster for 23 (106/5).The remaining 5 wickets fell for 35 and when Applebee caught Sthalekar at deep mid-wicket off Clea Smith for 45, the Spirit had secured the title.Spirit captain, Belinda Clark, was named player-of-the-finals while for the second year running, Southern Scorpions captain Karen Rolton was named player-of-the-series and player's-player.Courtesy: Women's Cricket Update

Calver Bronwyn (Bronwyn.Calver@dotars.gov.au)

Extras:
Spirit-Blues WNCL ties shifted to MCG
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