The NSW Breakers lost to the Western Fury on Friday following a historic performance by WA allrounder Heather Graham.
The diminutive Graham became the first player in Women’s National Cricket League history to score a century and take three wickets in a match as the Fury beat the Breakers by 32 runs at Blacktown International Sports Park No. 1.
This was despite a standout performance from captain Rene Farrell, who was leading the Breakers for the first time in the absence of Alyssa Healy, one of five NSW players with the national team playing the World T20 in the Caribbean.
Farrell was the Breakers’ leading bowler with 3-22 from eight overs then top-scored with an unbeaten 45.
Earlier in the day, Tahlia Wilson, 19, was presented her maiden Breakers cap before her debut match for NSW.
Defending WNCL champions the Breakers have now lost two of their opening three matches and face a crucial game against Victoria on Sunday at the same venue.
Graham’s 101 from 119 balls guided the Fury to 213 from 46.2 overs before the Breakers made 9/181 in reply after winning the toss and electing to bowl. She then claimed 3-14 from 10 overs of medium pace.
The Breakers started well when Belinda Vakarewa (1-30) bowled Bhavi Devchand for two with the last ball of the second over.
This brought Graham to the crease and with captain Chloe Piparo they controlled the match, taking the Fury to 1-154 in the 30th over.
However, when Piparo was bowled by leg-spinner Maisy Gibson (3-47) for 64 from 80 balls, the game changed. WA lost 9-59 as the Breakers fought back.
Lisa Griffith, playing her first match for the Breakers in eight seasons, looked good scoring 28 opening the batting before a freak dismissal.
Griffith was caught by Kate Cross diving forward at cover after the ball rebounded off the ankle of Graham in her return.
Three of the top four Breakers made handy scores but none higher than the 37 from 62 balls by Lauren Smith.
The crucial wicket was Naomi Stalenberg, who scored a bright 28 in 34 balls before being run out.
Her departure robbed the Breakers of momentum as the game slipped away.
They were in danger of conceding a bonus point to the Fury, but once the last wicket partnership of Farrell and Vakarewa (7 not out) took the score past 170 in an unbroken 30-run partnership, that possibility was erased.
Full scorecard here: https://bit.ly/2DabPik