In the first match of the pair, the toss was won by the Fire who elected to bat on a good Manuka wicket. While the outfield received a peppering from the Monday hailstorm, the grounds team worked tirelessly to smooth the many indentations, resulting in a Manuka outfield that was quick as ever.
Queensland made full use of this – hitting the rope from the first ball. They continued to attack, with Beth Mooney being the main aggressor. Her skipper and fellow opener Kirby Short looked to get into the action, hitting Zoe Cooke for four. However, the next ball Cooke struck back, claiming the first wicket for ACT.
Beth Mooney and Laura Harris quickly accumulated runs, taking Queensland to 43 in the sixth over, before Nic Hancock was able to break the partnership with the wicket of Harris. Three overs later, Cooke struck again to remove the dangerous Beth Mooney for 25.
Momentum shifted ACT’s way, with Hancock claiming two more wickets and Maitlan Brown getting in on the action to put Queensland on the ropes at 8/107 in the 27th over. However, a fighting effort from the tail allowed Queensland to tilt the scales. Number eight Delissa Kimmince (27) and ten Jemma Barsby (31*) combined for the two highest Fire contributions and helped Queensland reach 179.
The pick of the Meteors bowlers was Maitlan Brown, who closed out the innings in the 48th over, finishing on 3/27 with a consistent display.
In response, the Meteors struggled to find their feet. Losing wickets in pairs early on, they were unable to gather momentum. Clare Koski offered ACT some hope in the middle order, but when she eventually holed out on 44, ACT was 8/108. It wasn’t long before the clinical Fire bowlers took two more wickets, ending the Meteor’s innings at 119.
Kershaw 'keeps against Queensland
Two days later, the Meteors needed a win against NSW to remain in title contention. The toss was won by the Breakers who chose to bowl. Their decision was rewarded with the early wickets of Erica Kershaw and Anna Lanning for nought. In dire straits, Katie Mack’s innings provided the Meteors with a glimmer of hope as she resisted the NSW attack to compile 43.
Before long the Breaker’s attack struck again, as the wicket of Clare Koski (19) was followed by Katie Mack’s, leaving ACT at 4/80. The Mets needed their skipper to consolidate the innings but unfortunately, Erin Osborne was forced to retire hurt with a calf strain.
Working to rebuild the innings, Sarah Coyte (26) and Maddie Penna’s (8) partnership was much needed but cut short by Rene Farrell who claimed both wickets. Farrell was the Breaker’s key striker, bowling 10 overs for figures of 3/20.
At 6/104, runs were much needed and Carly Leeson answered the call. Batting with the tail, she held her nerve and added 56 in a classy display. Resisting some of the best bowlers in the world, the 21-year-old notched her highest WNCL score and maiden half-century.
As Erin Osborne returned with a runner at 11, the two added only 10 more runs before Leeson’s wicket was claimed by Hayley Silver-Holmes to end the Meteor’s efforts at 187.
Such a total required a near-perfect bowling effort to defend against NSW’s imposing batting line-up. All of the Breaker’s batters contributed as NSW added 57 for no loss before Leeson claimed the scalp of Alyssa Healy (34). This brought in Tahlia Wilson, who scored 64* with Naomi Stalenberg (43) to take the game away from the Meteors.
NSW reached the ACT’s total in the 32nd over, claiming a bonus-point win to cement their place at the top of the table.
Despite the loss, Carly Leeson was pleased with her performance and is happy with how her game is developing.
“I was happy with my performance against NSW recently. By getting an opportunity with ACT it does feel like all my hard work is paying off.”
The all-rounder also found success in a recent tour match against England, as the tourists prepare for the upcoming tri-series and ICC T20 World Cup. She took 2 wickets including the prized scalp of Danni Wyatt and scored a quickfire 21 (14).
“Whilst it was good to reach some milestones it was still disappointing not to get the win.”
“We just need to keep pushing and working with each other to regroup and come out firing in our last 2 games of the season.”
The Meteors will meet Western Australia on February 4 and Tasmania on the 6th, with both matches at Phillip Oval.