The Central Hinds saved their best for last, celebrating an emphatic win over Northern Spirit — the Hind’s sole victory of the One-Day season
No one saw this coming. With the Hinds occupying the cellar in both formats all season, the final women’s round robin match of 2016/17 had nothing riding on it for the Napier hosts other than pride. But they also had nothing to lose.
Spirit captain Natalie Dodd won the toss and batted, but was a quick casualty, dismissed in the opening over by Michelle McKay without scoring. It was the first sign of something finally going right for the women in green.
WHITE FERN Hannah Rowe struck next, McKay taking the catch this time to remove Caitlin Gurrey.
Two cheap wickets at the top and, remarkably, just 22 would be the top score as Spirit simply fell to pieces. Bernadine Bezuidenhout and Sam Curtis both shared that distinction, both Bezuidenhout and Emma Parker falling with the tally on 60.
At 60 for five, a late order recovery was needed, but not forthcoming when Jess Watkin snared the important rearguard wicket of Kerry Tomlinson lbw: 81 for seven now, and so it kept going until Spirit were bundled out in the 40th over for just 126.
With two catches to go along with her two wickets, McKay had been in the thick of the action while spinner Watkin (below, right) returned a superb four for 34 off her 10 overs, including a maiden — her second One-Day four-fa and a new career best, edging her 4-36.
The Hinds set off confidently on the chase and would be helped by Spirit conceding 30 extras, more than any of their batsmen had scored. With the top four Hinds wickets falling for modest scores, it proved the difference as Hannah Rowe and Michelle Mitchell picked things up from 72 for four to slam the Hinds home to a six-wicket triumph inside 22 overs.
The bonus point victory may have been a pyrrhic one, but it was a heck of a way to finish.