NSW Metro Under 18 wicketkeeper-batter Maddy Darke has posted her first century for Universities in the top grade of McDonald’s Women’s Premier Cricket.
The 17-year-old stand-in Universities captain made 126 from 130 balls in her club’s 69-run limited-overs win over Penrith on Sunday at David Phillips South. Darke is leading the side in the absence of Breakers leg-spinner Maisy Gibson.
Her previous highest score for the students was 81 not out which she made for Universities Blue during the First and Second Grade Combined T20 tournament earlier in the season. Darke reached the boundary 13 times during her century on Sunday.
This season Darke has made 381 runs across all formats at the exemplary average of 63.5.
She was recently selected, along with seven other NSW players, in the Australian Under 19 Women’s team to tour New Zealand for three Youth One-Day Internationals and one T20 in March.
Together with Breakers allrounder Carly Leeson (40) and Olivia Porter (75) at the top of the order, Darke navigated the defending champions to a big total of 4/273 from its 50 overs.
In reply, Penrith made 9/204 and was contained by some disciplined bowling from Universities. Porter finished a complete allround performance with 3-41 opening the attack for the students.
Danielle Armstrong (2-28) and Mariam Bank (2-44) were the other multiple wicket takers for the victors. Breakers allrounder, and Penrith captain, Lisa Griffith fell three short of a half-century and top-scored for her team.
The win moved Universities to third on the ladder and put its title defence back on track. However, Campbelltown-Camden appears to be well placed to challenge for the premiership after it defeated Sydney at Ryde Oval.
Sydney was bowled out in 24 overs for just 80 and the visitors chased that down the target within 23 overs and five wickets in hand. The victory moved Campbelltown-Camden to second place behind Parramatta.
ACT Meteors Clara Iemma and Claire Koski were both stand outs with the ball for Campbelltown-Camden on Sunday.
Iemma claimed her season best figures of 4-19 from six overs. Koski picked up 3-24 from the same number of overs.
All bowlers used by Campbelltown-Camden captain and Breakers reserve wicketkeeper-batter, Hannah Trethewy, picked up at least one wicket.
Only two batters passed double figures for Sydney. In response, Campbelltown-Camden made 5/81.
Iemma again produced with the bat. She made 33 from 54 balls at the top of the order and combined with Trethewy (23) for a pivotal partnership worth 48 runs.
Now that the WNCL has been completed for another season, with the NSW Breakers claiming a remarkable 20th title in 23 attempts, Campbelltown-Camden could possibly expect the return of two key pace bowlers, Lauren Cheatle and Belinda Vakarewa.
Cheatle was in particularly good form towards the end of the WNCL. She claimed seven wickets, in three matches, at 12.3 including career best figures of 4-42 against ACT in the final preliminary round.
At Bankstown Oval, Northern District bowled out Bankstown for 136 in the 50th over. The visitors achieved victory inside 24 overs and with seven wickets in hand. They finished 3/139.
Breakers off-spinning allrounder Lauren Smith scored 56 from 63 deliveries including 11 boundaries. She shared a 96-run second-wicket partnership with ACT/NSW Country Under 18 representative, Alisha Bates (41) to guide their team over the line.
NSW Metro Under 18 off-spinner, Isabelle Afaras, was terrific with the ball and in the field for Northern District.
Afaras took 4-20 from 8.3 overs including the vital wicket of Bankstown opener, and wicketkeeper, Laura Wright (44). The teenager also completed three catches in the field.
The young off-spinner will join Darke in the 14-player Australian Under 19 squad to tour New Zealand in two months.
Sydney Thunder spinner Sam Bates (2-35) and Shivani Mehta (2-9) also returned multiple wickets for Northern District.
Parramatta remained on top of the table after its match against Gordon at Merrylands Park was abandoned due to wet weather. St George-Sutherland had the bye.
In Second Grade, Gordon stayed on top of the competition with an 18-run win over Universities. Sophie Vaughan claimed 5-18 for Parramatta in its 12-run victory against St George-Sutherland.
Vaughan also made 47 from 49 with the bat for Parramatta.
Campbelltown-Camden beat Bankstown by 14 runs at Raby Oval No. 2, while Northern District comprehensively defeated Sydney by eight wickets after the Tigers were dismissed for just 30.
In the Under 18 Brewer Shield, Jade Pollock claimed the excellent figures of 6-15 from five overs for Campbelltown-Camden in its 155-run win over Universities.
Gordon opening bowler Anna Wilson-Brown was another to claim five wickets in the Brewer Shield on Sunday. She collected 5-23 against Sydney in a convincing win for her side.
In other matches, Northern Blue defeated UTS North Sydney, Bankstown went down by 18 runs to Parramatta, Northern District Gold lost by six wickets to Manly-Warringah and St George-Sutherland beat Penrith.
On Saturday, in the Third Grade T20 competition, St George-Sutherland won twice against Universities Gold, while Manly-Warringah and Campbelltown-Camden registered a win against each other at Kierle Park. Gordon had the bye.