A season beyond expectations has come to an end for Melton Centrals in the Cricket Victoria Women’s Community Cricket north-west B one-day competition.
Having claimed the T20 title in their second season, Centrals fell just short of a second grand final, losing to Plenty Valley on Saturday in a one-day semi-final.
Things didn’t go to plan for Centrals during the week, with their home ground unavailable because of other scheduled games.
It meant that Centrals missed out on a home final, and the eventual location of the game, in Fitzroy, not decided until the day before the game.
Once the game started, it was the Bats that took control, making 6-197.
Amy Hibbert was the pick of the bowlers, taking three wickets for Centrals.
Centrals captain-coach Candace Hulett said they let themselves down in the field.
“Plenty Valley batted really well,” she said.
“We didn’t have the best day in the field and were a bit off and that cost us the game.”
Centrals’ innings didn’t start well with Hulett, their highest run scorer, out cheaply.
Centrals fought back but couldn’t get the runs, finishing 5-148.
Hulett was ecstatic with how the side responded and batted out the overs.
“Most of the season we’ve relied on me to make runs and I was out early,” she said.
“Two girls stood up and put on nearly a 100-run partnership.
“Amy Hibbert made 52 not out and Rhiannah Jordan made 41.
“It’s nice to see the rewards after putting in the hard work.
“Amy has come along well with the bat and batted with a lot of patience.”
Hulett said the batting performance showed that the next group of players was starting to step up and take on roles within the side.
She highlighted Tara Keenan as the one who had really stood up this season.
“They showed that on Saturday. Other girls stood up and that is fantastic to see, hopefully that can continue.”
Hulett said they were thrilled with how the season had panned out.
“We thought we would have been there or thereabouts to make a final this season.
“If someone had told me at the start of the season that we would have a T20 premiership and a one day semi-final, I would have taken that every season.
“It’s been a successful season in just our second season.
“It’s exceeded everyone’s expectations and everyone has improved so much since the start of the season.”
Hulett said the focus next season is on taking the side’s game to the next level.
She said the first two seasons had been about teaching the fundamentals.
“Hopefully we’ll keep all the girls together, that is the first part,” she said.
“We want to continue to improve and start learning about reading the game and game structure.
“They’ve now got two seasons under the belt and can start learning that next bit.”