Occasionals back on finals track
OCCASIONALS have arrested the decline and virtually assured themselves a semi-final berth with a first innings win over City Slickers on Saturday.
The patchy form of the premiers and a strong run from Slickers had seen Occasionals’ third spot on the ladder threatened.
But the efforts of Deanne Lawrie (15, 17 not out and 4-3) and Chantel Collie (23 and 21) ensured they widened the gap from four to seven points on the ladder.
But it was not without its tense moments as Slickers were on track to take outright points, reaching 6-84 chasing 92 after Occasionals declared their second innings closed on 5-57, but were beaten by time.
“We scored 86 in the first innings which we thought was never really enough,” Occasionals captain Deanne Lawrie said.
“We started out pretty well and were going all right but had a bit of a lapse. But we bowled and fielded pretty well.”
Lawrie led the way, taking 4-3 as Occasionals skittled Slickers for 34.
While the skipper claimed four wickets, she paid credit to opening bowlers Mel Park and Christina Range who made the initial breakthroughs.
A quick-fire 57, inspired by Collie and Lawrie again, gave them the chance to declare and chase an outright win.
But the wickets that fell so steadily in the first innings dried up second time round and Lawrie’s declaration proved to be not a minute too soon.
“They came back and batted really well and we were lucky to hang on in the end,” Lawrie said.
“The two teams are pretty even.
“Neither has big hitters so it is more likely to be a low-scoring game.”
It was also a good test of Occasionals’ mettle heading towards finals.
“I’m not sure how we’re going to go in finals but we’ve got to give ourselves challenges and Saturday was a good challenge.”
The challenge now is to begin posting totals that will test Sports and Wildcats.
“We need to score more runs more regularly,” Lawrie said.
“Sixty seems about average for us.”
We know our bowling can pick it up and do well but we’ve got to push on with our batting.”
In the weekend’s other Division One match, Wildcats flogged Sports outright to stamp their premiership title claims.
Rebecca Foley (40 not out) and Meleah Harris (35) set the platform for a mammoth first innings 131 declared, which Sports couldn’t get close to.
They were bundled out for 52 and 46, with Kelly Verrall (5-16) and Alyce Jeffries (3-7) the stars with the ball.