Northern Spirit defeated Central Hinds by eight wickets
Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui 8 December 2019
It's official: Northern Spirit is back, with bells on.
Last in this competition for the previous two seasons, the Spirit now has four wins on the bounce, with two back-to-back comfortable victories over the defending one-day champions in this weekend's work.
With a batting average in triple figures, Katie Gurrey was the hero this time with her second century of the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield season, unbeaten on 101* at almost run-a-ball pace as Spirit easily chased down a target of 179 with more than 10 overs to spare.
Two runs for Gurrey to take her past 💯 👏🙌— Northern Districts (@ndcricket) December 8, 2019
Thatâ€™s 101 runs in 106 balls, including 14 boundaries.
Live scorecard | https://t.co/oMbSja5abd#showyourspirit #ndtogether #HBJShield #cricketnation pic.twitter.com/ghtc1na5tk
The only doubt hovering in the languid air above Bay Oval was whether the arrival of hard-hitter Kate Anderson at the crease late in the piece would rob Gurrey of the chance to ton up.
Anderson hit the winning boundary just two balls after Gurrey found a two to bring up her three figures in the nick of time, having lost captain Felicity Leydon-Davis with just 12 runs required for a perfect weekend.
Defending champions the Hinds were left licking their wounds, having lost the competition lead in the process of a double defeat at the hands of their neighbours.
After a scratchy performance with the ball the previous day, today it was tough day with the bat after having been sent in.
After Jess Watkin (38) was run out in the 16th over, the Hinds lost both Anlo van Deventer and Kerry Tomlinson to Emma Baker in the 19th and never recovered, with number five Hannah Rowe forced into a conservative role for her 34 - not a single boundary in her cautious innings.
Rowe was a big wicket for Caroline Esterhuizen at 155 for six and with Mikaela Greig run out just two balls later in the same 35th over, Spirit started rattling through the wickets again to dismiss the Hinds for 178 in just 39.4 overs of another rain-reduced 46-over game.
The required rate was not enough to threaten Northern's power-packed top order. Young keeper-batsman Olivia Lobb promoted to open with Gurrey the Bezuidenhout's Sunday abstinence and the pair put on 97 for the first wicket before spinner Georgia Atkinson broke through.
Gurrey then shared a 70-run stand with Leydon-Davis (29) for the second wicket that all but sealed the match.