Pearl Dawson Final – battle of the heavyweights

The Pearl Dawson Trophy will be decided this Sunday when University/Waitakere (Unitak) Women take on the Takapuna Ponies at Te Atatu Park for Women’s T20 supremacy.

The match proves somewhat of a rematch of last year’s final, University coming away with the spoils on that occasion.

“It’s fair to say we got a drubbing last year in the final but their team is fundamentally different now. They are a different beast with a lot of domestic talent and they’ve been the form side of the competition so far,” says Ponies Coach Chris Reid.

In a season that’s been ravaged by weather and an unfavourable domestic schedule, both Unitak and Takapuna are keen to finish their T20 campaigns on a winning note.

“We’re pretty excited to be honest. We’ve had a bit of a break so we are all quite keen to get back into it. It’s always exciting to be in a final especially against a team we have lost to a couple of times,” says Ponies off-spinner Naveena Hira.

“In finals cricket I don’t think anyone’s a favourite,” says Unitak all-rounder Anna Peterson.

“With their New Zealand selections you can see they are a very strong side and we are very much looking forward to playing them.”

Although Peterson was quick to shirk the ‘favourites tag’ she says the amalgamation between University and Waitakere has been hugely beneficial.

“I think it has been a successful season even without making the final,” she says.

“Based on enjoyment, the girls have really enjoyed their time together. It’s been nice bringing in young players from Tauranga and Hamilton and making sure they get good cricket.”

Enjoyment aside, Takapuna go into the contest this Sunday without one of their gun bowlers in Roz McNeil, something Coach Chris Reid is wary of.

“Not having Roz is a huge loss. Roz on her day is one of the best bowlers in Auckland so to not have her is massive. She leads our bowling attack from a leadership perspective both on and off the field,” says Reid.

“But it gives the other girls an opportunity to step up and make a difference in a big match.”

One of those looking to step up is off-spinner Hira who says the Ponies have certainly looked into several different strategies for Sunday.

“Chris [Reid] is great in developing us as players not only our skills but thinking about the game. We’ve had a few tactical meetings, discussing certain players,” says Hira.

Sunday is certainly shaping as a battle of the heavyweights; can Takapuna finally claim a T20 trophy or will it be the new team in town celebrating with silverware?

Only time will tell.

Auckland Cricket will be LIVE STREAMING Sunday’s final. Check out ‘Auckland Cricket’ on Facebook where we will post a link to the live stream.