The HEARTS have suffered a narrow five-run defeat against the Northern Spirit at Seddon Park in the final round-robin match of the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield.
The wicket of Felicity Leydon-Davis in the second over gave the HEARTS an early opening and it was no surprise that Bella Armstrong was the bowler to take it.
The competition’s joint leading wicket-taker, with opponent Eimear Richardson, settled into another fine spell from the Pavilion End. The HEARTS were then up against a stiff second-wicket partnership between opener Katie Gurrey and Richardson.
Just when the Spirit pair began to find their timing and take the bowlers on, Jane Barnett struck. The leg-spinner picked up both Gurrey (24) and Richardson (37), caught on the off-side, to help pull things back.
Another partnership threatened when Kate Anderson and Brooke Halliday got together. Anderson, in particular, was positive in approach hitting 3 fours on her way to a 32-ball 29.
The HEARTS needed a wicket and skipper Regina Lilii turned to Armstrong, who delivered once more. Barnett held on to a high ball to dismiss Halliday before Jesse Prasad marked her return to domestic cricket with the wicket of Anderson.
Prasad bowled brilliantly, testing the two new players at the crease. It was a crucial stage in the match and the Spirit consolidated through Mikayla Templeton and Olivia Lobb. The HEARTS built pressure on the pair as the score crept slowly towards 150.
Barnett nabbed Templeton for 18 and Fran Jonas snuck one through Lily Mulivai to open the door for Armstrong’s return to at the death. Armstrong went back-to-back with the leg-before decisions of Lobb (32) and Carolyn Esterhuizen. Every good collapse needs a run-out and Saachi Shahri provided one as the Spirit were bowled out for 193 in the 47th over.
In reply, the HEARTS ran into early trouble as openers Shahri and Izzy Gaze were caught during a tight opening ten overs. With so much to play for, Lilii and Arlene Kelly (37) joined forces to put the chase back on track. The pair put together 63 for the third wicket with Kelly using her feet to tackle the hosts’ spin options.
It would be Kelly’s downfall, however, chipping a simple chance back to Charlotte Sarsfield. Armstrong and Prasad both supported Lilii through minor partnerships, but with ten overs to go, the HEARTS still required 51 runs with 5 wickets in hand.
Lilii held the key, while Tariel Lamb offered solid support. Lilii brought up her second List A fifty on her way to a career-best 63, but her wicket at the end of the 46th over made the equation tough for the HEARTS.
The responsibility fell to Lamb, who had played nicely. The HEARTS wicketkeeper knew it was time to find the fence, but couldn’t get ahold of Richardson’s flighted delivery. Roz McNeill tried to do the same as Richardson (4-44) picked up a second wicket in the penultimate over.
13 runs were required from the final over bowled by Esterhuizen. Seven runs came from the first five balls leaving Amie Hucker with six needed off the final delivery. It wasn’t to be with Hucker bowled trying to power the ball over the legside.