Time is running out for those teams outside the top four in McDonald’s Women’s Premier Cricket to stake their claim for a finals berth with Northern District the only team likely of making a run that could qualify.
Northern District trail St George-Sutherland in fourth place by more than one win and must secure victory against the Slayers on Sunday to keep its finals hopes alive.
The match at Hurstville Oval promises to be a tight and tense contest given the teams’ relative positions on the table.
Northern District have momentum on their side heading into the fixture after its four-wicket victory over Sydney last Sunday.
Whereas, St George-Sutherland lost to Universities by eight wickets.
Mikaela Turik has been in some good form for Northern District with the ball. She has claimed 15 wickets at 22.9 across all forms in McDonald’s Women’s Premier Cricket this season.
Her best figures of 5-14 from 7.3 overs came against Campbelltown-Camden in round two.
However, the Slayers have their own bowling ace with Emily Mifsud, who is the leading wicket-taker in the competition.
Mifsud has claimed 18 scalps at 15.61 this season with best figures of 5-19.
Penrith must win its match against Campbelltown-Camden, and possibly grab some bonus points, to keep alive its slightest of outside chances to make the top four.
Claire Koski will be the all-important wicket for the Panthers, as she makes her return from duties in the WNCL with the ACT Meteors.
The leading run-scorer in McDonald’s Women’s Premier Cricket has scored 398 runs at 66.33 with a highest score of 121.
Penrith opening bowler Chantelle Downey may play a key role in dismissing the prodigious opening batter.
Downey hasn’t quite picked up the wickets she did last season for Penrith. In 2016-17, Downey claimed 12 wickets at 32.3. This campaign she has collected nine wickets at 23.8.
Last Sunday in her team’s eight-wicket loss to Gordon, Downey kept things tight without picking up a wicket. She returned 0-14 from her four overs.
Second plays third at David Phillips South when Universities play Gordon. There is just one point separating both teams.
Gordon captain Hannah Trollip will be vital for the visitors at the top of the order. Her consistent run of form this season is a large part of the reason why the team is where it is on the table.
Since returning to the longer 50-over format after the completion of the Combined First and Second Grade T20 competition a fortnight ago, Trollip has made consecutive half-centuries in her last two matches.
The opener made 53 from 57 balls in the win last Sunday over Penrith, and previously, scored 59 against Campbelltown-Camden.
Trollip has three fifties in total this season for the defending premiers amongst a tally of 343 runs at 24.5.
The other match sees ladder leaders Bankstown Sports take on Sydney, who have had a disappointing season to date.
Sydney was runners-up last season to Gordon and finished second on the table, but are currently seventh, just eight points clear of Campbelltown-Camden on the bottom of the ladder.
It is semi-final time in the Under 17 Brewer Shield, where minor premiers Gordon play the fourth-placed Northern District at Beauchamp Park.
In the other semi-final, second plays third in the match between St George-Sutherland and Campbelltown-Camden at Harold Fraser Oval.
The winners of each match meet in the Grand Final on March 4.
In second grade, Sydney host Bankstown Sports, Gordon are away to Campbelltown-Camden, Universities travel to Merrylands Oval to play Parramatta, and Northern District are at home to St George-Sutherland.
In the series of double-headers for the Third Grade T20 competition on Saturday, Bankstown play Campbelltown-Camden, likewise Gordon meet St George-Sutherland, and Universities Blue take on North West Sydney. Universities Gold have the bye.