Cherie Taylor stamped herself as the premier bat in women’s cricket with a match-winning 103* in the Lynne O’Meara Cup Final at Kaleen Oval. West’s premiership made it a remarkable 19 in the 41-year history of the Cup.
Earlier, West’s seized on the opportunity to bat first in the big game but didn’t have it all their way early. Skipper Alisa Clark (5) fell to a run out, Grace Kuchlmayr (1) was dismissed by Sarah Staples and Claire Russell (6) was bowled by the diminutive Rachel Carroll. Unfortunately for the Norths attack this brought Taylor to the crease, coming off a magnificent 166* in the semi-final. She started more cautiously in this innings as Emma Greenhalgh (7) went LBW to Jess Phillips. Annie Pham (20) was then able to stabilise the innings and add a valuable partnership with Taylor, before Naomi Woods played a perfect support role with 27* as Taylor surged towards her century in the closing overs.
After 40 overs Wests reached an excellent score of 6/189. The Norths attacked tried hard but could not contain Taylor in the last 10 overs. Taylor brought her season total to 691 runs at a Bradman-like average of 98.71. In just the Lynne O’Meara Cup she had amassed 457 runs at a whopping 152.33.
Norths was looking to one of their top order bats to play a similar innings to Taylor if they were to make a successful chase. Adelaide Jones returned to the team late in the season and started well. Unfortunately, wickets started to fall in a clatter at the other end. Isabella Meere (1), Staples (0), Phillips (1) and Maddison McGarry (5) all departed by the time the score reached 45. Enter young Carroll who played with heart bigger than her stature as she put on 39 with Jones before she was dismissed for a courageous 16. There is no doubt we will hear a lot more about Rachel in the future. Once Jones was dismissed for a gallant 41, the end came quickly and Norths was bowled out for 98. Wests had achieved victory by 91 runs. Once again left arm young speedster Naomi Woods was the pick of the bowlers with 4/13. She captured an incredible 18 wickets in the competition at an average of only 2.75. Pham was also excellent with 2/20 off 8 overs.
Norths co-captain Aimee Slocombe spoke after the match of how the Norths players had become a closer team as the season had progressed and how they had enjoyed playing together in the women’s competition. Wests Captain Alisa Clark expressed pride in how her team had improved during the season and had overcome a loss to the Norths just a few weeks earlier.