Semi Final Mollie Dive – Sunday 13th March 2022 – Lofberg Oval
A match that saw the undefeated North Shore Blue (NSB) take on Manly, where second placed on the ladder played third.
NSB won the toss and chose to bat.
After a long delay in getting the playing surface in acceptable condition, (that just wouldn’t happen at Long Reef?) Manly soon had NSB in trouble.
With Ari bowling her graceful fireballs, Annabel Kyme was in tandem bowling a beautiful full length. Quickly bowling NSB’s gun opener and thus putting extreme pressure on the top order, 1 for 10. This length from the Manly openers and the resulting pressure no doubt contributed to NSB’s captain trying to release the heat, hitting an uppish, half chance to cover.
This was likely a huge moment in the match as Kaya grabbed a stunning catch off Annabel’s bowling again, 2 for 13. Catches win matches, they also win comps. A real pleasure to watch Kaya seize this key semi-final moment. This young lady sure has an X-factor about her.
Keira again bowling an intelligent length forced another chance with Ari taking her opportunity in close, 3-16.
If finals cricket is about staying in the fight NSB sure did that. As the ball got wet, Kaya had a task of bowling her leg spin with a slippery ball. Amazingly, she didn’t bowl a loose ball in her spell, landing her leg breaks with a message to NSB…this is going to be really hard for you guys to score runs.
NSB put on 64 runs for the next wicket however Manly had them pinned down with accurate, full length bowling. It was costing NSB valuable overs.
Then followed arguably the moment of the match. NSB looking for a quick single to relieve some of Manly’s pressure made the fatal mistake and hesitated. Kaya collected the ball, calmly assessed the situation and threw a perfect throw at 3/4 pace over the bails to her bowler Annabel, who had positioned herself perfectly over the stumps. Gone, and thankfully a potentially match winning partnership was broken at 4-80.
Another wicket to Annabel and yes another catch to Kaya saw NSB start to stumble at 5-89. Annabelle’s spell had come to an end and she had the game changing figures of 3-12 from 6 overs. 👏👏👏👏👏
Matilda then rattled the stumps leaving NSB 6-95 ,completing her 5 over spell at 1-11. Alongside Keira 3 overs 1-11, Raph 2 overs for 8, Sophie 2 overs for 9, Joleena 2 overs for 9. Manly bowled as a team with further pressure from Tate and Sibilla leading to NSB’s top scorer being run out by Ari and Eve for 40 runs. 7-102 and then innings complete at 7-114.
Some of these top order batters from NSB had outstanding techniques, they are definitely players of the future. This only added weight to Manly’s well thought out, full pitched bowling performances, with Ross also pointing out to Annabel the significance of who she had got out.
Eve needs a special call out. Never before keeping for 30 overs, she had the task of keeping byes to a minimum in really, really tough keeping conditions. Eve is brave and talented and such a positive girl. She no doubt played a match winning role here in crucially covering beautifully for Annabelle Croll, who sadly missed the game due to COVID.
After a rain delay or two of significance, the thought of weather costing Manly any shot at winning no doubt was in the back of Dave and Alan’s minds.
When play resumed Sophie took on the responsibility of filling Annabelle’s shoes and got a ball that seemed to swing back sharply into leg stump. Well bowled. Four runs for Sophie and Manly were 1-5. Manly however don’t seem to be a team that knows the word panic. And even when Annabel was caught and bowled for 3 and the score was 2-17, there was an air of confidence in the task ahead.
Ari played with intelligence, pushing ones and twos and keeping the run rate building toward 4 an over which was needed if the heavens opened up. When Keira went for 4, the score had reached 56, seemingly without the girls playing any silly shots. These girls were executing calmly on the task well laid out by Dave and Alan. Watching Ari bat with such poise, it was like watching a preview of the future of girl’s cricket in Australia.
Enter Kaya and both girls remained calm as NSB tried their absolute best to turn up the heat. Ones and two’s everywhere took the game away from NSB and then when the loose balls came they were dispatched to the boundary and beyond.
Kaya scoring 20no off just 13 balls continued her seriously amazing match. Arabella finished with 57 off 56 and a demonstration to the younger girls in the team how to chase a total down. Ones and twos and intelligent running in between wickets and then punishing the bad balls was an absolute joy to watch. No doubt getting her buddy Annabelle through to a Grand Final a huge motivation for Ari. As it became clear during post-match celebrations it was for all of the girls.
See you at the Newcastle ambush Annabelle!