Katie Gurrey acknowledges the crowd. © Getty Images

Katie Gurrey’s career-best 123 laid the foundation to Northern Spirit’s comfortable five-wicket win over Canterbury Magicians at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Saturday (November 16). The right-hander’s 121-ball knock trumped Frances Mackay’s century for the hosts in the first innings as Spirit chased down their 262-runs target in just 46 overs.

Having chosen to bat first, Magicians’ batters put together consistent partnerships throughout the innings to chalk up a total of 261 for 4 in their 50 overs. Mackay’s 103, which included 13 boundaries, was the centerpiece of that innings, with twin scores of 54 from Jacinta Savage and Natalie Cox.

In the chase, Gurrey shared a 110-run opening stand with fellow international Bernadine Bezuidenhout (46), and followed it up with an 88-run third-wicket partnership with skipper Felicity Leydon-Davis who collected a steady 42 off 55 balls. Gurrey blasted 19 boundaries in her knock of 123, and was eventually dismissed with Spirit needing only nine for victory. Eimear Richardson and Alisha Rout knocked off the remaining runs at a run-a-ball to seal Spirit’s first win of the season.

Defending champions Central Hinds started off their campaign with a resounding 73-run win over Otago Sparks at Donnely Park in Levin. Sparks collapsed to 125 all out on the back of incisive spells from Rosemary Mair and Hannah Rowe who picked up five wickets between them.

The fast bowling pair got Hinds off to a perfect start in their defence of 198 with two early strikes. Only debutante Sophie Gray fought hard with a top score of 36, but her contributions did little to help Otago’s cause as they were bowled out in 42.1 overs.

Mair finished with figures of 3 for 21, while Rowe took 2 for 36.

Earlier in the day a solid 42 from Kerry Tomlinson and a 51-run fourth wicket stand with Rowe (22) stabilised the innings after Hinds had been reduced to 33 for 3 within 10 overs. Esther Lanser then made another valuable contribution of 45 down the order to elevate her team’s total to 198.

Emma Black was the wrecker-in-chief for the Sparks with figures of 3 for 34, while Hayley Jensen and Sophie Oldershaw picked up two wickets each.

Meanwhile, at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, the hosts overwhelmed Auckland Hearts by 66 runs to complete a comfortable bonus point win. The visitors were shot out for just 142 in pursuit of 209.

Having been sent in to bat Wellington Blaze managed a score of 208 for 5 in their 50 overs on the back of an unbeaten 92-ball 52 from Thamsyn Newton at no.4. She was well supported by Jess McFyden who scored 40 at the top of the order, and Jess Kerr who contributed with a crucial 35-ball 39 lower down.

Hearts’ chase was rocked early as they fell to 20 for 2 in 10.3 overs. From that point on they were given no chance to recover by the hosts’ bowlers who kept the run rate in check and continued to pick up regular wickets. Katie Perkins top-scored for Hearts with 35, while Newton picked up 2 for 15 with the ball.

Brief Scores:

Canterbury Magicians 261/4 in 50 overs (Frances Mckay 103, Natalie Cox 54*) lost to Northern Spirit 265/5 in 46 overs (Katie Gurrey 123, Bernadine Bezuidenhout 46; Sarah Asmussen 2-32) by five wickets.

Central Hinds 198 in 48.5 overs (Kerry Tomlinson 42, Esther Lanser 45; Emma Black 3-34, Hayley Jensen 2-24) beat the Otago Sparks 125 all out in 42.1 overs (Sophie Gray 36, IR James 24;  Rosemary Mair 3-21, Hannah Rowe 2-36) by 73 runs

Wellington Blaze 208/5 in 50 overs (Thamsyn Newton 52 not out, Jess McFadyen 40; Holly Huddleston 2-51) beat Auckland Hearts 142 in 39 overs (Katie Perkins 35; Thamsyn Newton 2-15) by 66 runs