News reached Adelaide of a washout in NSW’s game against Queensland mid-afternoon, a result that created a simple equation for the Scorpions: win and a place in the WNCL Final against Victoria was theirs.
Unfortunately, it was not to be for the home side, despite a strong first innings total of 261 which had them on top of the game at the halfway point. Katie Mack was the difference at the top of the order for the Meteors, playing a sublime innings of 95 from 106 deliveries, a flash of pure brilliance beneath the Adelaide night sky.
Winning the toss and electing to bat, The Scorpions stumbled out of the blocks, losing both openers with the score at 25 before ten overs had elapsed. When the in-form Courtney Webb then fell to Chloe Rafferty for just six, South Australia desperately needed a hero if they were to post a competitive total.
Enter Tegan McPharlin. Captaining the side in the absence of Megan Schutt who is in New Zealand on national duty, McPharlin refused to be overawed by the situation. As wickets continued to fall around her, the exquisitely skilled veteran compiled a brilliant knock of 62 from 68 deliveries to power her side into contention, an innings highlighted by eight boundaries.
South Australia’s lower-order then joined forces to contribute strongly to their final total, with Annie O’Neil (37 from 38), Amanda-Jade Wellington (30 from 21), Eliza Doddridge (27 from 26) and Alex Price (23 from 18) combining to add 188 for the final five wickets.
Set 262 for victory, the Meteors were unbreakable for a remarkable 26 overs as opening pair Katie Mack and Erica Kershaw put on 131 for the first wicket. Batting at a rapid clip from the outset, the only thing that slowed either batter down was an inquisitive bee that stung Kershaw while she went about her work. The short delay did nothing to alter the momentum however, as the two continued at just under a run-a-ball and both notched half-centuries before the first wicket came.
The breakthrough was brought about by some extremely sharp work on the boundary rope between Josie Dooley and Wellington that saw Kershaw run-out pushing for a bonus run on the throw. McPharlin did the work at the stumps, whipping the bails off after a perfect return just before Kershaw managed to cross the crease. A stumping four overs later had the Scorpions right back in the contest, with the end result not decided until the final over as the clock ticked past 9.30pm.
Brooke Harris turned the tide for the Scorpions by way of three wickets, gloriously supported by McPharlin behind the stumps, taking ACT from 2/184 to 5/199 in the blink of an eye. The strong crowd in attendance rode every ball in the final 10 overs, desperately trying to cheer the home side over the line. Cameos from Maddie Penna, Carly Leeson and Nicola Hancock were the difference at the death however, with a booming six from Hancock reducing the equation to just two runs from six balls. Amy Yates had the pleasure of hitting the winning runs, finding the boundary rope to bring an end to an instant WNCL classic.