The youthful NSW Breakers are on course to defend their Women’s National Cricket League title after a dramatic last ball victory over Tasmania at North Sydney Oval on Tuesday.
Number 11 Stella Campbell swung the final ball behind square leg to the boundary to snatch a one wicket victory which has put the Breakers in the box seat to host the final on February 16.
The Breakers finished 9/204 in reply to Tasmania’s 200.
With Western Australia losing to the ACT Meteors and Queensland ending Victoria’s finals hopes, the Breakers are now five points clear of WA and six points clear of Queensland.
Only a remarkable sequence of events in the last regular season round of games on Thursday, when the Breakers play WA at North Sydney Oval, can prevent the Breakers from playing off for a 21st title in 24 years.
With captain Alyssa Healy, Rachael Haynes, Ashleigh Gardner and Erin Burns on national duty two more youngsters, keeper-batter Maddy Darke and allrounder Hannah Darlington, made their debut for the Breakers, giving the team six teenagers.
After an inconsistent bowling and fielding effort, which included 20 wides and two no balls, the Breakers collapsed to 4/35 before acting captain Lisa Griffith (65) made a breakthrough half-century, adding 82 with Phoebe Litchfield (44).
An important cameo from veteran seamer Sarah Aley (26 from 23 balls) levelled the scores with three balls to go before she swung at what would have been a winning leg side wide from former Breakers team mate Belinda Vakarewa and was caught behind with three balls remaining.
With the field crowding around, Campbell nervously defended her first ball and was unable to score off the second before effortlessly swinging the last ball to the vacant backward square leg boundary.