With Queensland only able to add two points to their tally after rain in Brisbane forced their match against South Australia to be abandoned, Western Australia’s victory meant they were able to leapfrog Queensland into the second position behind New South Wales.
By finishing top the table, the remarkably successful New South Wales earned the right to host the final and will be gunning for their 21st WNCL title win in the 24-year history of the league. Needing just a win to keep their title hopes alive, Western Australia had a rollicking start with Piepa Cleary dismissing opposition opener Rachel Trenaman for a duck in the second over of the day.
However, promoted up the order, Naomi Stalenberg hit a 111-ball 86 and struck crucial partnerships with Tahlia Wilson (34), Lisa Griffith (25) and Phoebe Litchfield (43 not out) to steer the team to 223/6 in 50 overs. Cleary (3/52), Bolton (2/40) and Heather Graham (1/31) were also among wickets.
In reply, Western Australia didn’t have the start they would have wanted losing two quick wickets with just 18 runs on board. But opener Piparo (51) and Bolton (53) thereafter took on the mantle stitching together a 108-run partnership to steady the ship. The two-time WNCL runners-up were in a spot of bother with both Piparo and Bolton perishing within a space of two overs, thanks to Rene Farrell’s (3/25) exploits with the ball, but Mathilda Carmichael (26) and Banting’s (57 not out) composure ensured their team towards victory.
Elsewhere, in Canberra, the Australian Capital Territory were able to finish their season on high with a three-wicket win over Tasmania. Sarah Coyte put in a superb all-round performance, backing up an economical spell of two for 30 from her eight overs with an unbeaten 48 to chase down Tasmania’s 198 in the 47th over.
New South Wales 223/6 in 50 overs (Naomi Stalenberg 86; Piepa Clearly 3/52, Nicole Bolton 2/40) lost to Western Australia 227/6 in 46.5 overs (Chloe Piparo 51, Nicole Bolton 53, Megan Banting 57 not out; Rene Farrell 3/25) by four wickets.
Tasmania 198 all out in 47.4 overs (Emma Thompson-Flint 70; Maitlan Brown 2/31, Sarah Coyte 2/30) lost to Australian Capital Territory 202/7 in 46.3 overs (Erica Kershaw 69, Sarah Coyte 48 not out; Belinda Vakarewa 3/35) by three wickets.