Northerns women beat KwaZulu-Natal (KNZ) women by a convincing five wickets to secure their place in the final of the Cricket South Africa (CSA) Women’s Provincial League. They attribute their success this season to good form and leadership from their senior players, who had outstanding performances with both bat and ball.
“We definitely showed good and consistent form this season,” Northerns coach, Martelize van der Merwe said. “Our senior players and more specifically, the members of the national team have made for really good mentors to the youngsters. It is because of their support and motivation that we have seen so much enthusiasm from the rest of the team.”
Leg-spin sensation, Dané van Niekerk was the most improved player of the season, adding batting to her repertoire after she returned unbeaten with a career best 203 not out against Limpopo recently to top the batting averages. Northerns have also proven to have the strongest bowling side of the season with Marizanne Kapp, van Niekerk and Suné Luus claiming the top three spots of the bowling averages of the season.
In their match against KZN in Pretoria, Northerns skittled the visitors out for a meagre 77 runs in 29.5 overs with Marcia Letsoalo the pick of the bowlers, taking an impressive four wickets for 12 runs and van Niekerk following up with a notable 3/8 in 5.5 overs. Northerns batters made quick work of the run chase, scoring the required runs in 27.3 overs with van Niekerk top-scoring with an unbeaten 36 runs.
“I’m really happy with the form I have displayed this season,” she said. “It helps to be a part of such a supportive and upbeat side. I hope that I can continue in the same vain going into the final to defend our title. Western Province will not make it easy and we are prepared for a tough fight ahead of us.”
Western Province (WP) won their clash against neighbouring rivals Boland in Cape Town to secure their spot in this weekend’s final. Senior players, Olivia Anderson and Shandré Fritz led by example, scoring 92 not out and 42 respectively to post a daunting 242/5 at the end of their 50 overs.
Shabnim Ismail took 4/29 to restrict Boland to 216/8. Alison Hodgkinson and Yolandi Potgieter scored 90 and 44 respectively but could not manage to take their side all the way. WP won by 26 runs and secured their ticket to the final in Pretoria.
Coach, Peter Harold is happy with his side’s performance this season, “Team work, selflessness and a lot of sacrifice has led us to where we are today. The team has played as a collective and given each other a chance to shine. We have a core group of about six or seven players who have played regularly for the side in the last few seasons and they have been good at guiding the younger players and offering good advice,” he commented.
The final will take place on Saturday, 7 April, at SuperSport Park in Centurion and Northerns are happy to be hosting.
“We are really excited for Saturday and are ready to give it our all. Western Province will give it their all and we look forward to a competitive game of cricket,” Martelize van der Merwe concluded.