WP Cricket Champs Again

Western Province completed a last-ball victory over Boland in the final of the provincial Women’s One-Day Challenge on Saturday, after a match in which both teams’ chances see-sawed, only for WP to claim their second consecutive victory over favourites Boland in heart-stopping fashion.

“It’s the only two times we’ve beaten Boland (over the past two seasons) is in the finals,” WP captain Olivia Anderson told gsport on Tuesday. “I suppose we’re a bit like the Australians, able to do it when it counts (laughs).”

“Yeah, it’s hard to get over, because we just messed it up,” said Boland captain Sunette Loubser. “We had a good start even after I got out, we were 60/1 after 10 overs, so we got momentum, but the lower order collapsed.

“We played them twice this season, and we actually demolished them. We didn’t have a problem, but when it came to the final, we just messed it up.”

The top two provincial cricket powerhouses met for a repeat of the 2005/06 season’s final, in which Boland had suffered a batting melt-down, after leading the tournament throughout the season.

Western Province captain Olivia Anderson won the toss, and put Boland in to bat, and her opening bowler Ashlyn Kilowan struck immediately with the key wicket of Boland captain Sunette Loubser.

Boland no. 3 Leighshé Jacobs joined Audrey Petersen for the side’s best partnership of 53 runs in 58 balls, until Alexis le Breton removed the opener for 26 runs.

Jacobs added 25 runs with no.’s 4 Claire Terblance (10) and 5 Alicia Smith (3) before losing her wicket to Shibnam Ismail for a steady 29 runs in 65 balls.

Boland’s Lauren Esterhuizen and Peta-Anne Drake settled Boland’s innings with a second-best partnership of 33 runs in 69 balls, but with the wicket of Esterhuizen (run-out, Shaw) in the 35th over, the wheels fell off for the home team.

Stacey Hercules claimed the wickets of Bronwen Town (lbw) and Ilse Langhout (bowled) off consecutive balls to inflict a blow from which Boland was unlikely to recover, and though they managed to bat out another 7 overs, Boland could only add a further 14 runs to the total.

Bowled out for 138  in the 42nd over, Boland knew they had to perform with distinction to avoid a repeat of the previous year’s defeat, but the Western Province started ominously, with their openers racing to 45 runs in eight overs, before Loubser claimed Anderson lbw for 33 runs in 31 balls.

No. 3 Kilowan combined with the remaining opener for a studious 13 runs in 45 balls, before Nathanael Christiaans removed le Breton (10 runs in 36 balls), before she fell (stumped Langhout, for 6 in 28 balls).

Under pressure of tight bowling, but knowing they had a meagre chase for victory, WP accumulated runs slowly in the chase.

Boland didn’t let up on the pressure in the field, and Western Province’s nerves showed in the loss of the wickets of Melissa Shaw, Nuraan Pipers and Carolyn Esterhuizen, all to run-outs in the final overs.

But the final batswoman pairing of Roxy Fondling and Stacey Hercules bravely batted on up the final over, with defending champions WP needing another 7 runs for victory, with one wicket remaining.

But in a last over run-out attempt at the bowler’s end with 2 balls remaining, Boland conceded an unfortunate 4 runs overthrow, handing the game to WP.

The victory margin was so slim, that had the stumps been broken in that attempt, Boland would have been victorious.

“There were a few of us who played in the final last year, and we should have learned something, but we managed to mess it up again,” a dejected Loubser summed up for Boland.

“We believe that we can beat Boland on any day,” said Anderson, “And we just haven’t managed to do it (during the season), and to manage to do it in two finals…

“It was a great team performance in the end, a few of our younger more inexperienced players pulled through and took responsibility,” said Anderson.

“It’s always a great game between Boland and Province, because there’s a lot of rivalry, always a lot of chirping and banter between the two teams, it’s great to come off on top for a change, when it counted.”

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Launched in 2006, gsport exists to enhance the commercial prospects of our women athletes, and other women in sport, by telling the inspiring story of SA women in sport. Thank you for your contribution!

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