Unfortunately Bankstown Sports bowed out of the premiership race last weekend when they compiled only 113 on a good batting track at Drummoyne Oval. Balmain had little difficulty reaching this meagre target and at stumps had scored 7-158.
Bankstown won the toss and elected to bat in the very humid conditions. They appeared to be cruising at 0-34 until Sally Pratt was disastrously run out for a well compiled 18.
This triggered a dramatic collapse and although Sally Shaw held on defiantly for a stylish 28 Sports crashed to be all out for just 113. Promising young allrounder Amanda Owens put together a determined 18 but overall the batting was most disappointing.
Despite some aggressive bowling from Therese McGregor and well flighted offspin from Natalie Barber, Sports were unable to contain premiership favorites Balmain. McGregor fired down 16.2 overs to capture 1-37 whilst Barber, who has handled her promotion from thirds most capably, took 1-14 from 6 economical overs.
The highlight for Bankstown was the brilliant fielding which led to three run outs. Sally Pratt and Amanda Owens showed excellent agility and pinpoint accuracy with direct hits to get two of them whilst Louise Hawkes fired in a great return over the stumps to get the third.
The good news for Bankstown Sports fans was the amazing victory by the enthusiastic under 18 side against Balmain in the semi final. The two sides met in the final last year with Bankstown running out victors and they repeated the dose in a thrilling encounter last Saturday to progress to the final this weekend against Hornsby.
After a promising opening stand Balmain capitulated to some excellent bowling from the very talented McNally sisters with Meghan capturing 3-14 and Roslyn 2-17. The bowlers were well supported by some enthusiastic Sports fielding that led to three vital run outs and Balmain was bundled out for a paltry 54.
With 30 overs to get the runs the result appeared a formality especially when Bankstown cruised to 1-23. However an amazing turn around saw them slump to 8-42 and with 13 runs required from 4 overs victory was slipping away. Alyson Moss took the pressure off with a well struck four back over the bowler's head but with one over left four runs were required for victory.
In a heartstopping finish the winning run was scored off the last ball of the over as Sports scrambled to victory. Meghan McNally completed a fine match with a topscore of 13 whilst in the context of the game Kathryn Long's solid 9 not out proved invaluable.