The Hearts couldn’t string together enough at the top of the order to hold back the Central Hinds in today’s Hallyburton Johnstone Shield final.
The Hearts won the toss and opted to bowl against the Hinds, after a delayed start at Pukekura Park.
After Jess Watkin raced out of the blocks – and then fairly quickly found herself caught behind off Holly Huddleston – the Hinds proceeded through the first part of the innings fairly comfortably.
Captain Anlo van Deventer and Natalie Dodd combined for a 90-run partnership that reached the 30th over. The Hearts were building pressure, however. Boundaries dried up, Anna Peterson and Arlene Kelly were proving hard to get away, and the team could sense they needed something.
Hearts Captain Maddy Green put herself on to bowl, and in her second over got the breakthrough. A shot skied to long off, and Huddleston took the catch.
With one end opened up, Auckland picked up the energy, soon after snaring a run-out, Kerry Tomlinson out for 14. The Hinds were teetering on 141/3.
Still, while van Deventer was in, there was the knowledge that she could unleash and drive the Hinds to a big score.
In the 38th over, Skye Bowden made the breakthrough. Van Deventer came down the wicket to the 17-year-old, missed, and lost the top of middle stump.
Four balls later, Bowden had her second. Katie Perkins took a stunning one-handed mid-air catch to remove Hannah Rowe.
Bowden was back in the action next over, a yorker that ripped Emily Cunningham’s middle stump out of the ground. Suddenly CD looked vulnerable at 161/6.
They proceeded cautiously, Rosemary Mair trying to rally the tail, until she was out for 16, another flying catch, this time by Lauren Down.
Huddleston wrapped up the Hinds innings for exactly 200, a score they would have been very pleased with given the lack of early wickets.
Unfortunately, early wickets weren’t a problem for the Hinds. Down was LBW first ball off Mair. Green lasted four before she went out without scoring, caught off Mikaela Greig.
Things went from bad to worse for the Hearts, soon they were 12/4 after six overs. A run-out cost last week’s heroine Saachi Shahri.
Anna Peterson watched from the other end as she lost partners, until Holly Huddleston came out to join her. Together the pair steadied the ship, putting together a 50-run partnership. They were looking solid until Peterson skied a ball from Melissa Hansen and Georgia Atkinson held on.
The Hearts started rebuilding all over again. Huddleston and Arlene Kelly took the Hearts over the hundred-run mark before Kelly was caught for 21.
Despite the score teetering at 113/6, there was always the spectre of hope so long as Huddleston was at the crease. She played some crunching fours, raising her bat as she went past 50.
Huddleston needed to be there till the end. However, when she looked to up the run-rate, she ended up stranded down the wicket to a ball from Watkin, stumped by Dodd for 56.
In the last ten overs, the fightback was left to the Hearts young guns. Bella Armstrong at 8, Tariel Lamb at 9, and Bowden at 10 all went after the win with intent and determination.
But they couldn’t beat back a surging Hinds team, and all three were out with three overs left. The Hearts finished 39 runs short when Mair took the final wicket.
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