The Auckland U18 girls team has recently returned from Melbourne Australia where they made an outstanding debut in the Australian National U18 Championships winning four of their eight matches against states from across the Tasman.
The Auckland side usually competes in the Primary Schoolboys competition on home soil but this season their manager Victoria Lind wanted to take the team further afield so the players could test their skills against their Australian counterparts: “We wanted something more this year,” said Lind. “I started making some enquiries and we found a contact within Cricket Australia who was organising the U18 Championships and it all went from there.”
Auckland proved their calibre to everyone in the opening match when they thrashed Tasmania by 142 runs. Captain Lauren Down led from the front with a half century as her side amassed 252/8 in 50 overs before Claire Mains (3/21), Khusboo Patel (2/21) and Shriya Naidu (2/20) helped decimate the Tasmanian batting order.
In game two Down was again in the runs recording her second consecutive half century although her efforts would prove to be in vain as South Australia picked up the victory. However it did’t take long for Auckland to hit dominant form again when they defeated the ACT by seven wickets with Francesca Wilkinson striking an unbeaten 40.
The girls then suffered three consecutive defeats to Queensland, eventual champions New South Wales, and Victoria before showing plenty of character to end the tournament with consecutive victories.
Western Australia were the first victims as Wilkinson claimed the best individual bowling figures in the tournament. Her five wickets for nine runs helped dismiss the opposition for just 70 which Auckland had little trouble overcoming thanks to Dow’s 31 not out.
Tasmania were next and despite making a much better fist of their second encounter with our girls, their first innings total of 191 did not prove to be enough as Saachi Shahri (47) led Auckland to a four wicket victory with three overs to spare.
The results ensured the side had an even record to finish the competition and Lind was delighted with her team’s performance over the course of the week: “It was a great experience for us. We were able to learn a lot about ourselves, our games and also from our new opposition about how to train and play.
“I think the girls will come back with a lot more confidence knowing they can match up with the best teams in Australia and also play in the different conditions and heat that we experienced over there.”
Lauren Down – Captain
Francesca Wilkinson – vice captain
Natasha Van Tilburg
Alice le Marquand
Game One: Auckland 252/8 (L Down 57, C Mains 29no, F Wilkinson 20) defeated Tasmania 110 (C Mains 3/21, S Naidu 2/20 K Patel 2/21) by 142 runs.
Game Two: Auckland 138 (L Down 56) lost to South Australia 139/5 (F Wilkinson 2/23, K Patel 2/29) by five wickets.
Game Three: ACT 68 (L Down 2/19) lost to Auckland 69/3 (F Wilkinson 40no) by seven wickets.
Game Four: Queensland 103/5 defeated Auckland 81 (L Down 46) by 22 runs.
Game Five: New South Wales 92 (F Wilkinson 2/22) defeated Auckland 56 by 26 runs.
Game Six: Victoria 122/8 (S Naidu 2/25) defeated Auckland 74 by 48 runs.
Game Seven: Western Australia 70 (F Wilkinson 5/9, K Patel 3/8) lost to Auckland 71/1 (L Down 31no) by nine wickets.
Game Eight: Tasmania 191 (L Down 2/23, S Naidu 2/30, C Mains 2/31, K Patel 2/35) lost to Auckland 192/6 (S Shahri 47, N Van Tilburg 21) by four wickets.