The Wimmera Roos flexed their muscle as they thumped the Horsham Hurricanes, bouncing back as strong as possible from a loss in the Wimmera Girls Cricket League last week.
The Hurricanes' innings started brightly with Emma Uebergang (18*) and Zarli Knight (17*) combining positively with some big hits and smart running between the wickets to surprise the Roos early.
The young Hurricanes took the ascendancy at the drinks break, before the introduction of Roos leg spinner Maya Schorback turned the game on its head.
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Maya Schorback put on a clinic of spin bowling, deceiving all batters with her flight and accuracy to claim figures of 5-7 for the match.
The Hurricanes, unable to counter, finished their innings on 74.
Paige Glover got the Roos' innings off to an absolute flyer, consistently sending the ball to the boundary on her way to 38*.
She was ably supported by her teammates as the Roos team showed their experience and class, picking gaps and running hard all day to rack up the impressive total of 198.
For the Hurricanes, all bowlers toiled hard, with Zara Nichols the pick of the bowlers claiming two wickets with her left arm medium fast bowling.
The Roos go into the final match mathematically able to defend their champion's crown.
The Roos will need the Strikers to lose as well as defeating the much-improved Horsham Sixers unit.
The Hurricanes find themselves up against the Diamonds and will be keen to end their season on a high with an upset win.
Hurricanes 11-74 (E Uebergang 18*, Z Knight 17*, M Schorback 5-7, I Schorback 2-11) def by Roos 2-198 (P Glover 38*, I Schorback 25*, A Clark 21*, A Williams 21*, Z Nichols 2-19)
Strikers claim top spot
Sixers 5-98 (L Avery 15, C Moloney 2-10) def by Strikers 4-114 (A Mitchell 22*, C Moloney 16*, E Moloney 16*)
In an entertaining game of cricket, the Horsham Sixers produced their best performance yet, significantly challenging the top of the table Stawell Strikers at the scenic Dimboola Recreation Reserve.
Lucy Avery (15) and Jorja Clode (12*) continued their rich vein of form with the bat in 2021, as the Sixers posted 98 for the loss of five wickets.
The Strikers' Chloe Moloney showed her all-around talents, swapping wicket keeping gloves for the ball at the halfway stage and collecting best figures for the strikers with 2-10 from her three overs.
In reply Strikers young gun Ayva Mitchell cracked three boundaries on her way to a top score of the match of 22*.
She was ably supported by the top order as the Strikers began their run chase very strongly. However, a late flurry of wickets, tight bowling and excellent fielding saw the Sixers wrestle the moment of the game back and produce a tight finish.
The Strikers in the end held their nerve and prevailed in a great game of cricket.
The final round of competition will be hotly contested with four teams in the running to claim the title of season champion.
The Strikers will go head to head with the Belles. A win to the Stawell team will see them crowned champions, but a loss will open the door for the Belles, Roos or Diamonds to sneak in and claim the championship.
Net run rate for the season looks like it will play a factor, with the Roos holding the advantage in this department.
Boulton shines for Diamonds
The Murray Downs Diamonds made it two wins from the last two games with a comprehensive victory over the Wimmera Mallee Belles.
Issy Boulton wowed the crowd at the Dimboola Recreation Reserve with a fifteen ball 43 that included five boundaries and three massive sixes.
The Belles bowlers were composed after weathering the Boulton assault and fought back strongly in the second half of the innings with tight bowling to restrict the Diamonds to 2-152.
In reply for the Belles, Bridie Reid led from the front with 16* as she saw off the impressive Diamonds openers, Alanna Bookham (1-5 off 3 overs) and Amelia Bell (1-20 off 3 overs) and rotated the strike expertly with fellow opener Lucinda Holmes Brown.
Mia Hansen struck twice through the middle overs for the Diamonds, claiming 2-9 as the Belles attempted to lift the run rate and reel in the total. The task would be too large for the Belles as they fell short, finishing their overs 6-92.
The Diamonds will enter the final round of the summer in red hot form, and an outside chance to make the final if they can post a big win over the Hurricanes whilst also having results fall their way.
The Belles will play host to the final stanza of the competition at the picturesque Donald Recreation Reserve and will have a point to prove.
They are in a similar position to the Diamonds, a win and other results falling their way could see them claim the championship.
1 Stawell Strikers 4-3-0-1 7 1.77
2 Wimmera Roos 4-2-1 1 5 2.28
3 Wimmera Mallee Belles 4-2-1-1 5 0.70 U
4 Murray Downs Diamonds 4-2-1-1 5 0.57
5 Horsham Sixers 4-0-3-1 1 -1.08
6 Horsham Hurricanes 4-0-3-1 1 -4.23
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