The final of the domestics women’s provincial cricket tournament has come down to a Western Cape derby, in a rematch of the 2005/06 final between the season’s Coastal League log leaders Boland, and runners-up Western Province.
On Saturday last weekend, defending champions and runners-up in the 2006/07 Coastal League Western Province blew away Inland League log-leaders Northerns at Supersport Park in a remarkable 10-wicket win, while Boland were devastating against a talent-packed KwaZulu Natal in a 109-run home-match rout.
This morning many fans of the game will shake off a sleepy Easter Friday in anticipation of Boland Park’s a cup-final battlefield, as the nation’s top two cricket teams turn out to claim a title both will desperately want to win.
Last year Boland lead the same league by 12 points over Western Province before the semi-finals, but in the final it was the Cape Town-based team which prevailed over a melt-down by the Paarl girls, to lift the cup.
This year Boland’s season stats are even more impressive, and with 12 wins out of 12 including 10 bonus-point victories, coach Noor Rhode is rightfully bullish: “We need to play brave but not stupid cricket.
“I like running between the wickets, so obviously, (WP coach) Kim Price will be aware that my players will have that strategy.
“Boland have perfected it this season by playing that way, there’s no team close to us on the (season’s league) log.”
The two sides have met twice this season, in their first clash on 7 October 2006, Boland bowled WP out at home for 126 in the 42nd over, and chased the total down in 37 overs for a five-wicket win.
In their most recent encounter two weekends ago, WP hosted Boland at Bellville, and won the toss. Batting first, Western Province lost early wickets to succumb to a total of 94 all-out in the 33rd over, with Boland captain Sunette Loubser’s figures best at 3 wickets for 16 runs in 9.4 overs.
Ashlyn Kilowan top-scored with 24 from 41 balls, but crucially for WP, captain and opening batswoman Olivia Anderson fell to a run-out without scoring in 12 balls.
In their reply, Boland lost Loubser and Esterhuizen early, before Petersen and Smith took them to the winning total in 25 overs for a significant win, given today’s final.
But speaking to gsport, WP captain Olivia Anderson presented very positively: “If we can get a nice steady start, we can easily set a target of over 200, and I doubt that they’ll be able to chase that down.”
“In the last two matches we’ve played, we’ve scored over 200 both times, and my opening partner Lexie le Breton is averaging about 50-odd, so we’re quite confident, either batting first, or bowling first.
“Our bowling is probably our strength, as a team, I can bowl all 10 of my players, besides myself as wicketkeeper,” said Anderson.
Speaking to gsport, Boland’s Sunette Loubser showed respect for the opposition: “WP have a lot of heart, they’ve lost a lot of players during the season, but they will always give you a fight.”