Newly capped Victorian Ellyse Perry started her career in navy blue on a winning note, after teammate Elyse Villani struck a bittersweet but impressive 99 to set up a commanding win for Victoria against Western Australia.
With the second round of the 50-over domestic Women’s National Cricket League kicking off on Tuesday, Villani backed up recent good form in the Rebel WBBL and for Australia A to stake a further claim on a return to the national squad for the T20 World Cup – despite falling an agonising single run short of a century.
Her innings, backed up by an impressive all-round display from young allrounder Annabel Sutherland, secured an emphatic 117-run win for the home side at Junction Oval.
Sent into bat by the visitors, Victorian openers Villani and Sophie Molineux put their side in control from the outset with a 101-run opening stand.
Molineux, playing in her first competitive match since stepping away from the game in November to focus on her mental wellbeing, had an impressive day out, scoring 47 and claiming bowling figures of 2-22 from seven overs with her left-arm spin.
Also impressive was 18-year-old pace-bowling allrounder Sutherland who, after coming into bat at number five, added a further 47 runs to the Victorian’s total before taking 3-21.
It’s rare for Perry to partake in a cricket match without having an impact and her debut for Victoria proved no different. Returning from a shoulder injury that cut short her WBBL campaign, Perry hit 24 before opening the bowling in typically economical fashion, bowling seven overs and finishing 1-26.
Not only this, spectators were delighted to see Perry take a spectacular diving catch in the outfield to stop dangerous New Zealand opener Sophie Devine – who joined the Fury for two matches this week amid domestic T20 commitments across the Tasman – in her tracks on 41.
Chasing an imposing 260 to win, the Western Australian batters were immediately on the back foot after losing the two key wickets of Nicole Bolton and Heather Graham in the first five overs of the chase.
Chloe Piparo and Devine dug in with a 90-run partnership to keep the visitors in the hunt, but Devine’s departure at the hands of Molineux sparked a collapse of 7-32, handing the hosts a 117-run win.
Victoria will again face Western Australia at the Junction Oval on Thursday, with the match to commence at 9.30am local time.
Carey stars on debut for Tasmania
Australia allrounder Nicola Carey struck a match-winning knock on debut for Tasmania to power her team to a five-wicket win over Megan Schutt’s South Australian Scorpions in Adelaide and leaving the hosts winless this WNCL season.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, the South Australian top order set a decent platform with handy contributions from Bridget Patterson (41) and Suzie Bates (40) moving the scoreboard along to 4-153 in the 37th over after a tight opening spell from Carey and fellow pacer Belinda Vakarewa.
But after the departure of New Zealand star Bates, only Annie O’Neil (27) was able to crack double figures, with the Scorpions losing its last seven wickets for 19 runs.
Defending a below-par total of 172, skipper Schutt claimed the wickets of both Tasmania openers Hollie Armitage and Meg Phillips, leaving Tasmania at 2-38 inside nine overs.
However, experienced campaigner Carey was joined by Emma Thompson-Flint and the two put on an ultimately match-winning partnership of 81 runs.
Carey was eventually dismissed by Tahlia McGrath, but Corinne Hall’s 23 calmly guided the visitors to an impressive victory against the home side.
The sides are set to meet again on Thursday at Karen Rolton Oval, with the match brought forward to start time of 8:30am local time due to forecast extreme heat.
Johnson and Jonassen guide Queensland to victory
Sammy-Jo Johnson put in a damaging all-round performance to steer the Queensland Fire to a comprehensive five-wicket victory over the ACT Meteors in Sydney.
Johnson, who picked up two early scalps with the ball, then struck a quick-fire 40no from 26 deliveries to ensure her side came away with the win despite losing three wickets inside the first six overs in pursuit of the Meteors’ 151.
Jess Jonassen, a key member of the national setup leading into the T20 World Cup, also played an important role with the ball, taking 1-26 from her nine overs, followed by a steady, unbeaten knock of 45 from 51 alongside Johnson’s firepower.
The imposing Queensland batting lineup faltered early in reply, with top three batters Beth Mooney (10), Kirby Short (8) and Laura Harris (17) sent back inside the first six overs.
In a touch of strife at 3-42, but with the run rate under still under control, the experienced duo of Jonassen and Johnson put on the required runs to secure victory in the 25th over.
Winning the toss and bowling proved a wise choice for Queensland skipper Short. Within the first six overs, both ACT openers Katie Mack (1) and Claire Koski (2) were back in the sheds.
A handy 63-run partnership between Anna Lanning (27) and Erin Osborne (37) got the Meteors back on track before the loss of four wickets for 12 runs in the space of 35 balls saw the wheels falling off for the hosts.
Fighting contributions from Maitlan Brown (19) and Nicola Hancock (16 not out) at the backend of the innings helped ACT reach the 150 mark before Jonassen picked up the tenth wicket of Amy Yates to have them all out for 151.
The win will give the Fire a boost of confidence ahead of Thursday’s clash against defending champions NSW Breakers at Hurstville Oval on Sydney, with the match commencing at 10am local time.
The Meteors will be back in action on Tuesday January 14 against the NSW Breakers, also to be played at Hurstville.