In the first Women’s National League (WNCL) match to be held at Blundstone Arena since 2016, Tigers captain, Sasha Moloney won the toss and elected to send the visitors into bat. It proved to be a fruitful decision, with Breakers’ opener – and stand-in keeper in the absence of Alyssa Healy – Tahlia Wilson, dismissed for a duck on just the third ball of the match.
With the Breakers’ score at 1-0, Rachael Haynes and Rachel Trenaman, set about righting things, and that they did. When both teams were called from the ground due to rain after 22 overs, the NSW ship had steadied, with Haynes (37*) and Trenaman (43*) leading their side to sit at 1-83.
When the rain had eased and both side took the field for an adjusted 47-overs-a-side contest, the pair of Rach(a)els picked up where they left, until a Nicola Carey delivery unluckily skidded onto the stumps of Trenaman, dismissing her for 49.
Aided by Ash Gardner (43), Haynes continued on her merry way to a well-made hundred; incredibly at a strike rate in excess of 90. Haynes finished her innings on 109 runs off 112 deliveries, in an innings that included 12 fours and four sixes.
A spectacular caught and bowled by Belinda Vakawera – over the back of Rachael Haynes – saw the end of Gardner, whilst a sharp catch from Amy Smith off the bowling of Carey saw the end of the centurion Haynes. A couple of quick wickets of at the back end of the innings stemmed the flow of NSW runs, but after their 47 overs at the crease, NSW were at 6-246.
Under the Duckworth-Lewis method, Tasmania were required to chase a total of 252 runs for the win.
The Tigers innings with the bat got off to a disastrous start with the bat, when opener Rachel Priest was dismissed LBW on the first ball of the innings by Lauren Cheatle. It was then Carey who joined Moloney at the crease, with the pair piling on 40 runs before Moloney fell to exactly the same fate as Priest; dismissed LBW by Cheatle.
Carey was then joined by Heather Graham at the crease, and Graham was seemingly in a mood. The pair raced away to respective half centuries – piling on 95 runs as a partnership in the process – before NSW captain, Hannah Darlington, skittled Carey’s stumps for an even 50.
Naomi Stalenberg then joined Graham at the crease, with the pair both scoring at strike rates in excess of 100. Stalenberg fell victim to Cheatle for 40 off 35 deliveries, but Graham kept her nerve, notching up her first century in Tigers colours in 99 balls; an innings that included 16 boundaries, including one six. Darlington again was the one to end the party, when she bowled Graham for 116 off 110.
With one over to go, it was clear that the Tigers were going to be in for another nail-biter when – with Tigers debutant, Sarah Coyte, and Vakarewa at the crease – the Tigers needed 14 runs for victory. With no specialist batters at the crease, on paper it seemed to be a tall order for the Tigers, but Vakarewa had other ideas. After pushing around a couple of singles, Vakarewa attacked both mid wicket and deep cover for four, getting the equation down to four required with two balls remaining.
Two runs off the second last ball and the target seemed in reach. However, the final ball could only be pushed to mid off for a single, with Haynes running in to the stumps to run Vakarewa out for 14, leaving the Tigers stranded on 7-251 – one run short of the total Duckworth-Lewis required for victory after 47 overs.
Still technically undefeated thus far in the 2021 WNCL season, the Tigers will now turn their attention to Sunday, when they will host a similarly red-hot Victorian side at Blundstone Arena.
The match will begin at 10am AEDT, and will be livestreamed on cricket.com.au and the CA Live app.