Auckland Hearts beat Northern Spirit to claim fifth Hallyburton Johnstone Shield title   

Lauren Down. © SportzCraazy

577 runs, a couple of centuries and 15 wickets – that summed up the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield final as Auckland Hearts defeated Northern Spirit by 67 runs in the summit clash to claim their fifth title at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Saturday (March 14).
Opting to bat first, Auckland were jolted by the wicket of opener Saachi Shahri (17) with just 24 runs on board. Coming at No.3 Arlene Kelly joined Lauren Down in the middle as the duo rebuilt the innings with regular ones and twos, hitting boundaries occasionally. The combo added on a mammoth 169 runs in 172 balls for the second wicket before Down fell short of a well-deserved century by 10 runs off the bowling of Charlotte Sarsfield in the 34th over.
Meanwhile, Kelly continued her dominance on the opposition bowlers as the right-hander brought up her ton off 114 balls. However, she was dismissed for 110 soon after, stumped by Olivia Lobb whilst trying to go down the track against Lauren Heaps. Katie Perkins, who was in the New Zealand side for the recently-concluded T20 World Cup in Australia, wielded her bat for a brilliant 50-ball 63 towards the end to take Auckland past the 300-run mark in 50 overs.
In reply, Spirit were never really in chase despite captain Felicity Leydon-Davis’ fighting 124 off 120 balls. Although Lobb (31) and Kate Anderson (33) got starts, they couldn’t capitalize on that, putting all the pressure on Leydon-Davis, who was the last batter dismissed.
The right-handed Leydon-Davis, who has played an ODI and eight T20Is for the national team, didn’t get any support from her teammates at the other end as the Spirits’ last seven wickets fell for just 79 runs. They were finally bundled for 255 runs in 44.5 overs. Fran Jonas was the pick of Auckland bowlers picking up three wickets for 46 runs.
Brief scores: Auckland Hearts 322/5 in 50 overs (Arlene Kelly 110, Lauren Down 90, Katie Perkins 63; Lauren Heaps 2/56) beat Northern Spirits 255 all out in 44.5 overs (Felicity Leydon-Davis 124; Fran Jonas 3/46) by 67 runs.