The HEARTS had a tough afternoon at the Basin Reserve going down by 66 runs to a spirited Wellington Blaze performance.
The match began promisingly with Holly Huddleston picking up her 100th Hallyburton Johnstone Shield wicket for the HEARTS. Roz McNeill struck immediately with the wicket of Liz Perry, from her first delivery.
Jess McFadyen and Thamsyn Newton built patiently for the Blaze as the HEARTS kept the pressure on. McNeill opened up an end with the run out of McFadyen on 40.
The incoming Blaze players supported Newton (55*) as the all-rounder held the innings together. The HEARTS applied the pressure on Caitlin King, but Jess Kerr blazed five boundaries at the death. Huddleston (2-51) added the wicket of Kerr in the penultimate over, while Arlene Kelly and Anna Peterson bowled tidy spells throughout the Blaze’s 208/5.
In reply, the Blaze bowlers took an early stranglehold of the chase and the HEARTS were unable to put a significant partnership together after the slow start.
Though Katie Perkins (35) and Natasha van Tilburg fought to put the chase back on track, the Blaze hit back dismissing the pair at a similar time. The Blaze ran with the initiative as the HEARTS slipped from 78/4 to 81/7.
Bella Armstrong (21) fought with the tail but there was too much work left to do. The HEARTS were bowled out for 142 in the 39th over as six different Blaze bowlers took wickets.
The HEARTS get another opportunity to square the ledger tomorrow.