True Blue thriller sees Panthers escape with win

DANDENONG has survived a thriller against a determined Prahran to remain in contention for a top two Victorian Women’s Premier First spot. The Panthers sit third just one point adrift of Carlton after the Blues fell to the undefeated Melbourne in a top of the table match. In other results, a Ringwood opener steered the Rams to victory over Box Hill, whilst Essendon Maribyrnong Park (EMP) piled on more worries for a lacklustre Plenty Valley, handing the Bats their eighth straight defeat.

  • Team
  • Dandenong Panthers WP1
  • Prahran True Blues WP1

A run out in the final over ensured Dandenong Panthers survived an almighty scare from Prahran True Blues in the match of the round. After notching up 200 runs in the first innings, Dandenong had set a pretty strong total off the back of a half century from Lucy Cripps (51), and solid starts from Chelsea Moscript (28), Kimberley Garth (27) and Uvindee Wijesena (24). Sophie Day was the chief destroyer for the visitors, snagging 4/37 off 9.3 overs, including the final wicket in the penultimate over.

In response, Prahran started strongly with a 62-run opening partnership between Rhys McKenna (31) and Paris Bowdler (33), and at one stage were 6/191. That was largely off the back of True Blues captain Jennifer Taffs‘ knock of 45 off 54 balls, hitting five boundaries in her innings. Once Merinda Hale (21) was caught by Poppy Gardner off Emma Gallagher, Prahran still had four wickets in hand with 10 runs to make. It seemed a forgone conclusion despite time quickly running out. Three runouts later – two by Evie Stansby – and a wicket to Kimberley Garth – and the Panthers had taken 4/6 and bowled the True Blues all out for 197.

Gallagher finished with 2/31 off 9.3 overs for the Panthers, whilst Wijesena had 2/33 off nine in another consistent bowling performance. The win meant Dandenong moved into outright top spot, and whilst they did not pick up a bonus point, the Panthers remain five points clear of fourth placed Ringwood.

  • Team
  • EMP Bombers WP1
  • Plenty Valley Bats WP1

EMP Bombers kept their finals hopes alive with a vital win over last placed Plenty Valley Bats to move into outright fifth spot on the table. In another forgettable batting performance, the league’s cellar dwellers managed just 89 in 43.1 overs, with each of the Bombers bowlers taking a wicket. The pick of the bowlers was Samantha Bates who took 3/14 off 10 overs with four maidens. She was well supported by Grace Jones (2/15 off 10 and five maidens) and Katia Jomini (2/12 off 10 and three maidens). Though there was not a lot of joy for the Bats, though Navleen Sandhu (16) and Rachel Hegarty (15) put up a bit of a fight with a 27-run partnership, the largest of the match.

Though only chasing 90, the Bombers still had to be careful not to lose too many wickets early. Alyssa Humphries made a team-high 23 off 31 balls, including three boundaries before retiring not out. In her first game for the year, Emily Smith made 22 off 37, whilst Tia Davidge was the other double-figure scorer with 12. Aanliya Cheeran was the sole multiple-wicket taker for the Bombers, picking up 2/22 off seven.

  • Team
  • Box Hill Mustangs WP1
  • Ringwood Rams WP1

Another massive innings from Ringwood Rams opener Bhavisha Devchand spurred the Rams onto a 36-run victory at Box Hill. Devchand scored 83 runs off 89 deliveries in 97 minutes on the field, hitting 11 boundaries as she enjoyed 51 and 101-run partnerships. Sharing the crease with her for the latter was Una Raymond-Hoey (41 off 57), but when the Irishwoman fell, the Rams lost wickets in quick succession with a run of 5/17, slipping to 7/188. In her third consecutive dig, Emma Lynch scored 19 not out to guide the Rams’ lower order to a total of 218 off 42.5 overs. Caitlin Morando‘s quick four over spell saw the Mustangs bowler take 3/8 and two maidens. Zoe Griffiths and Isabel White also took a couple of wickets each.

Chasing the large total, it did not start well with Erin Carroll snagging the wicket of debutant Pennie Harrison, who was coming off an unbeaten half century in the seconds. Griffiths got the Mustangs back on track with a half century of her own, scoring 66 off 109, and picking up two boundaries. The run rate was not as quick as Box Hill would have liked, and whilst Danielle Montague chimed in with an unbeaten 23 later in the innings, the Mustangs got nowhere near the total, finishing with 9/182 from the innings. Hailey Ferris was outstanding with the ball, taking 4/37 off 10 overs, whilst Carroll (2/20 off six) and Devchand (2/23 off eight) also picked up multiple wickets.

The result leaves Box Hill’s finals hopes on a knives edge, sitting sixth and five points adrift from both the Rams and Bombers.

  • Team
  • Melbourne Demons WP1
  • Carlton Blues WP1

After a disastrous start to the day, Melbourne Demons found a way to remain the team to beat in the Victorian Women’s Premier Firsts competition, defeating second placed Carlton Blues by 94 runs at Albert Ground. The Demons won the toss and elected to bat, but the only hell they experienced was their openers gone for just three runs on the board. Rhiann O’Donnell and Stephanie Townsend lasted a combined two runs and five minutes.

Though two more wickets fell shortly after with Madison Albers enjoying a bowling spell of 3/35 off eight overs, the Demons had a couple of strong performers. Amy Vine continued her great season with 42 off 78, whilst Hayleigh Brennan hit a vital half-century (54) that included seven boundaries. Her partnership with Mia Perrin (28) steered the Demons to a total of 196 from 46.3 overs, whilst Sara Kennedy and Cailin Green both took two wickets for the Blues.

Both Green ad Sophie Reid had been pillars of batting success this season for the Blues, but this round they met a similar fate to the Demons openers, making a combined 16 runs. Aside from Nipuni Hansika‘s 30 off 57 and five boundaries, there was never a solid partnership for the Blues, with a maximum of 30 runs between wickets, and a collapse of 8/55. Though Grace Moyle frustrated the Demons bowlers with a last wicket partnership of 25 and picking up nine off 36, the Blues were never really in the hunt after the collapse, scoring 102 off 40.1 overs.

Ella Hayward took 3/22 and had two maidens off 10 overs, whilst both O’Donnell (2/14 off 6.1 and two maidens) and Erika Quinn (2/11 off six and two maidens) had economical spells. The result saw Melbourne move a whopping 17 points ahead and remain undefeated, whilst Carlton sits just one point clear of reigning premiers Dandenong in a tight battle for second spot.

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