An overs miscalculation might have helped Hoppers Crossing to its thrilling one-run victory over Altona Roosters in the CV Women’s north-west one-day semi-final at Langshaw Reserve on Saturday.
The Cats had planned to use their regular bowler-at-the-death Odette Lopez, but amid all the tension of a close game and strategies being rolled, they realised too late Lopez had been used for her maximum allowable overs.
So the Cats turned to Lopez’s new ball partner, Madalyn Smith, to bowl the pressure-packed final over of the match.
After bowling a wide with her first ball, Smith hit back to take the match-winning wicket off the third-last ball of the over, sending the Cats into the grand final.
Hoppers Crossing coach Michael Gobbe said such finals finales could be “pretty chaotic”.
“They were trying to line up Odette to have that last over, but because they used a couple of the other girls for eight overs, it meant that they couldn’t use one bowler for nine overs,” he said
“It came down to them needing four off the last over.
“Maddy started with a wide, but then she was back on line and got an lbw to finish it off.”
In its innings, Hoppers Crossing scored at a healthy 4.3 runs an over en route to 5-155 off 36 overs.
In a fairly even performance with the bat, openers Taylah Steadman (45) and Kayla Koropeckyj (29) set the Cats on their way with a strong start.
“Taylah and Kayla really set it up,” Gobbe said.
“Taylah had one of the more patient innings that she’s played … just really got over the ball and waited for the ones where she could launch.”
Captain Hannah Gobbe and wicketkeeper Brianna Herman consolidated through the middle overs before Smith (33) and Lopez (18no) played a crucial role before the close of the innings.
“There was a bit of frantic running late in our innings [by Smith, Lopez and Caitlin Brennan], which turned ones into twos,” Gobbe said.
“They wouldn’t have known it at the time, but that was the difference in the end.”
It went down to the wire, but Hoppers Crossing did enough with the ball to defend the total.
The Cats bowled Altona Roosters out for 154 in 35.4 overs.
Smith was the main destroyer for the Cats, taking 3-27 off 7.4 overs, including the match-sealing wicket of Mary Keillor.
“It was nice, tight bowling from most of our girls,” Gobbe said.
“That’s been a pretty consistent theme in our team this season.”
Hoppers Crossing will face Ballarat in the grand final this weekend.
The Cats will go in as underdogs, but know they have it in them to win.
“They’ve got unbelievably good players for this competition,” Gobbe said.
“We knocked them off at home during the season and that’s something I’ll be reminding the girls about.
“We’ve done it once against them – so we can do it again.”
MORE CVWCCC NEWS