The Auckland Under-18 Girls’ final match of their national tournament in Wellington saw them match up against Otago at Karori Park. For only the second time this week the girls batted first. The openers commenced their work in fine style – Anna Browning and Prue Catton scoring at a run a ball for the first six overs.
Browning was the first to go, bringing Auckland captain and Hearts player Skye Bowden to the crease. Bowden wasn’t leaving anything out there as she went about smashing a superb 86 from just 52 balls. She was particularly punishing square of the wicket striking 11 fours and one 6. Her partnership with Catton (43) worth 93 runs to the final total, an imposing 169/3.
From there Auckland opening bowler Amie Hucker continued an impressive week with the ball, completely dominating proceedings. Hucker’s four overs yielded five wickets for just four runs. She was ably assisted by Marama Downs who finished with 2-17. Auckland picked up regular wickets in the first six overs, including a sharp run out between Gemma Adams and wicketkeeper Izzy Gaze. At one point Otago were 7/7.
A lower-order fightback added some respectability to the Otago effort. It came courtesy of a 30-run ninth wicket stand, until a sprawling outfield catch gave the wicket to off-spinner Emily Thurman (1-13).
Otago’s resistance didn’t quite end there. The tail wagged to get the southerners through the allotted 20 overs. However, Auckland restricted them to 67/9, completing a commanding 102 run victory. Auckland used eight bowlers, all of which went for fewer than five an over.
The win capped off a hugely a successful week for the girls. Auckland finished unbeaten in their five matches losing only 14 wickets, and only one chase taking more than 18 overs to reach the total.
Captain Skye Bowden was named tournament MVP. Auckland’s Under-18 national title caps off a hat-trick of titles for Auckland with the Under-15 Girls and Under-21 Women.