Breakers push further ahead
New South Wales extended their lead in the Women's National Cricket League with two comprehensive wins against Victoria at the MCG on Saturday and Sunday. Lisa Sthalekar and Alex Blackwell were the stars for the Breakers once again, forming the backbone of the batting on both days, Sthalekar's unbeaten 93 and Blackwell's 60 helping to post a seven-wicket win in the opener.
On Sunday both made half-centuries and sharing in an 82-run third wicket stand. In Sunday's game, the Breakers recovered from a slow start to post 8 for 228. Sthalekar celebrated her 100th WNCL game with 70 from 78 balls, while Blackwell hit 55 from 84 balls with 7 boundaries. This was her fourth half-century in as many matches.
Victoria's innings took place under grey skies and at one stage even the MCG floodlights were turned on. Openers Melanie Jones and Rachael Haynes again gave their side an excellent start with an opening stand of 56. But the Spirit struggled to keep pace with the required run-rate which got as high as 12 runs an over during the dying stages of the match. They eventually reached 6 for 203, with Kelly Applebee (57) the top scorer.
"I was very happy with our attitude, discipline and standards in both matches," said Breakers' head coach Richard Bates. "We are now looking forward to playing Queensland in two weeks' time."
South Australia had a weekend of mixed fortunes at Allan Border Field, with a win and a loss against Queensland. Karen Rolton's century on Saturday led them to the eight-wicket victory and was well-supported in the bowling department by her Port Adelaide team-mate Emma Sampson who took 2 for 22, while Leanne Davis grabbed 3 for 32. Rolton's superb unbeaten 106 came from 95 balls, with Kris Britt (35) a capable partner.
Queensland, though, turned the tables on Sunday with a three-wicket victory. Scorpions batted first and reached 158, Rolton only able to make 8 this time. Having been comfortable at 1 for 72, they slipped to 6 for 88, but Megan White (39*) and Dawn Holden (22*) steered them home easily enough in the end, with 23 balls to spare.