The final two rounds of the McDonald’s Women’s Premier Cricket Combined First and Second Grade T20 competition take place this Sunday with several teams jostling for a place in the final four.
Leading into the final two preliminary rounds, seven teams can still qualify for the semi-finals the following Sunday. Thirteen points or two wins separate second and eighth position on the ladder.
Gordon Blue is the runaway leader at the top of the table. It is 16 points ahead of Universities Blue.
The winners of the semi-finals will play off for the First and Second Grade Combined T20 title in the afternoon on January 20.
NSW Breakers players Mikayla Hinkley, Carly Leeson and wicketkeeper-batter Hannah Trethewy are all available to play for their clubs this Sunday.
Hinkley will captain Penrith against Universities Gold, at Alan Davidson Oval, in a crucial match for the Panthers as they seek to remain in the top four.
The Penrith skipper has played four matches for the Hobart Hurricanes in the WBBL this season.
A win for Penrith would almost guarantee it a berth in the finals. The Panthers are fourth on 31 points.
The game against the Panthers is the second of back-to-back matches for Universities Gold, who also play Universities Blue earlier in the day.
Leeson is a valuable addition for Universities Blue side in that match.
The Sydney Sixers allrounder has made 175 runs at an average of 43.8 throughout her five matches in the competition. She has also claimed seven wickets at 12.
Trethewy will captain Campbelltown-Camden against Sydney at Ryde Oval. The Ghosts are sixth on the table, with 28 points, heading into the final rounds.
Seventh-placed Sydney require wins from both matches at home on Sunday to keep its finals hopes alive. It meets Bankstown Sports in the earlier game.
St George-Sutherland are another team that will need to win both of their matches on Sunday to sneak into the finals.
The Slayers are in eighth place and take on both Gordon sides. Their first match is against Gordon Red followed by Gordon Blue.
St George-Sutherland captain Cailyn Fountain is the leading run-scorer in the Combined T20 after 11 rounds. She has made 269 runs at the excellent average of 67.25 including two fifties.
Penrith allrounder Samantha Arnold is second on that list with 255 runs at 31.88. The leading-wicket taker for the competition is Gordon Blue spinner Isabella Fitzgibbon with 13 dismissals at just 6.54.
Parramatta currently sit just outside the top four, on 31 points and, in fifth place on quotient. It faces a tough task to defeat third-placed Northern District at Asquith Oval.
Parramatta have a host of players unavailable selected in either the NSW Metro, ACT/NSW Country or Cricket Australia XI squads for the Under 18 Female National Championships in Victoria starting on Monday.
Among those players include Sydney Sixers allrounder and Parramatta captain Hayley Silver-Holmes.
The opening round of the Third Grade T20 competition on Saturday features a trio of back-to-back matches across three venues.
Gordon meet Universities Gold at Forsyth Park No. 1, St George-Sutherland play Bankstown at Gifford Park, and Universities Blue take on Manly-Warringah in two matches at Tonbridge Park. Campbelltown-Camden has the bye.
The Under 18 Brewer Shield reconvenes on Sunday 20 January.