SATURDAY 18 DEC
Auckland HEARTS vs. Northern Districts
Fifties to Lauren Down (67), Katie Perkins (59) and Holly Huddleston (53*) helped set the HEARTS 225/9. After winning here second toss in two days, the skipper led from the front yet again.
While there were a number of flourishing partnerships during the first half of the inning, the HEARTS were unable to put together anything to lift their total our of reach.
Huddleston, however, continued her hot start to the summer, backing up yesterday’s all-round effort with a second fifty of the weekend. Northern Districts duo Nensi Patel (3-40) and Lucy Boucher played a major part in stifling the HEARTS middle and lower orders.
Defending 225, the HEARTS would have wanted early wickets. Kate Anderson, in particular, had other ideas. The Northern Districts opener raced out to a 41-ball fifty to set the hosts on their way. The back-and-forth then started. Fran Jonas (3-34) picked up the first three wickets as the HEARTS came back into the contest.
Patel, batting at five, held the key as Jesse Prasad dismissed both Samantha Barriball and Holly Topp. At 157/5, the HEARTS could see an opening. It took some time to close as Patel (71*) formed a partnership with Makayla Templeton (29*). The young pair took their side to victory in 47th over, having added an unbeaten 72 for the sixth wicket.
The HEARTS attention now turns to Monday’s Dream11 Super Smash rematch with the Northern Brave at Eden Park – Kennards Hire Community Oval.
FRIDAY 17 DEC
HEARTS vs. BRAVE | SUPER SMASH
The HEARTS showed few signs of rust in their first match of the summer, defeating the Northern Brave by 48 runs in the Dream11 Super Smash at Seddon Park.
Having won the toss and electing to bat first, skipper Lauren Down held the first half of the HEARTS inning together, scoring 44 off 51. It was an important role to play for Down as her side slipped to 53/3 in the 10th over.
Up stepped Holly Huddleston, who was about to put her name all over the HEARTS season opener. The HEARTS allrounder pummelled 4 fours and 3 sixes to bring up her second T20 fifty, from 33 balls. Huddleston’s powerful knock helped lift the HEARTS to 142/5 and to what was set to be a challenging total for the Brave.
The early wickets of openers Caitlin Gurrey and Kate Anderson by Arlene Kelly (3-21) gave the visitors the perfect start. Huddleston then had Brooke Halliday caught by a diving Down at extra cover. The significance of the wicket reached far beyond taking the ascendancy in the match; it also took Huddleston to 171 wickets for the HEARTS and into the lead as the all-time wicket-taker, surpassing Natalee Scripps.
From there, the HEARTS squeezed the middle order. Though Brave allrounder Nensi Patel (32) continued to show her all-round skills for the hosts, it would be the HEARTS night in Hamilton.
ACES vs. BRAVE | SUPER SMASH
The ACES stacked a number of small wins, but couldn’t quite get the chocolates to start the season against the Brave at Seddon Park.
If there was a powerplay to sum up the ACES eagerness to finally get underway, Martin Guptill (47) and George Worker (36) provided it, racing out to 63/0. The onslaught continued through to the tenth over and they ACES would have eyed a 180+ score,
Mark Chapman and Robbie O’Donnell both hit 22, but the Brave fought back through Scott Kuggeleijn and Joe Walker, who claimed four wickets apiece to drag the ACES back to 165.
Whatever was said at the innings break certainly fired up the ACES. Three wickets in the first three overs, including two in three balls from Lockie Ferguson, had the visitors in the thick of it.
The match-defining partnership then followed for the Brave; Colin de Grandhomme powered his way to a quick-fire 53 off 29, while Joe Carter hit a career-best 75* off 53 balls to guide his side to a four-wicket. While the ACES struck a couple of blows late on to suggest there could be some late drama, Carter rattled off three boundaries to seal victory with two overs to spare.
Photo Credit: PhotoSport NZ