SALE-MAFFRA Cricket Association held its own version of Gather Round on Tuesday.
The final round of the Saputo Women’s Midweek Twenty20 competition saw teams converge on Cameron Sporting Complex, Maffra.
Maffra Cricket Club hosted all three games, with matches taking place concurrently on the complexes three ovals.
With the regular season finished, Longford, Rosedale-Kilmany, Bundalaguah and Collegians will now move into finals.
LONGFORD got a psychological edge over Collegians.
The Lizards easily defeated Collegians by nine wickets on Cameron’s No 2 Oval after electing to bowl first.
The minor premier restricted their opponent to 7/79 from their allotted 20 overs, before chasing the total with 11 balls to spare.
While finishing on top of the ladder by eight points would be enough to make any team confident, Longford will have even more reason to be so, as they will play Collegians in next week’s semi-final.
Having got a good look at their semi-final opponent last Tuesday night, the Lizards will know Teagan Fairbrother looms as a danger batter.
Fairbrother scored 34 not out off 35 balls last Tuesday.
As a top-side does however, Longford found contributions with the ball from across the board.
Of the seven wickets to fall, six were shared between bowlers, while a run out demonstrated just how much pressure there was out in the field.
This pressure may have played some part in seeing Collegians fall to 3/14 early in the piece, from which time they were forced to rebuild.
Fairbrother was the main act with the ball, finishing with 1/8 off four overs, although Longford opener Sally Guthrie was up to the task, and retired after making 26 off 29 balls.
The Lizards only lost one wicket in their response, helped in no small way by the 21 extras Collegians sent down.
This may be an area Collegians want to address before the semi-final.
ROSEDALE-KILMANY spoilt the host’s party.
The Warriors held off a determined Maffra, winning by 11 runs.
Batting first, the visitor’s compiled 7/80 from their 20 overs.
Opener Kirrily Bruce did most of the scoring, making a brisk 26 off 20 balls.
Bruce hit four boundaries in her knock, but watched on in horror after retiring, as there ended up being just as many ducks registered as boundaries she hit into the fence.
Fortunately for Rosedale-Kilmany, they were able to benefit from some wayward bowling from the Eagles.
The home side let through a concerning 32 extras, including 20 no balls.
Briony Padman was one bowler who exercised sound control, and finished with figures of 2/4 off four overs.
The RK bowling started on the best possible note, with a wicket off the very first ball of the innings.
Maffra tried to build a few partnerships thereafter, but constantly found themselves 10 or so runs behind on comparison.
The Eagles were in a half-decent position at 3/51, only to suffer a collapse of 5/13 and end up on 8/69 at compulsory close.
In a game decided by 11 runs, the 12 extras recorded by the Warriors compared to 32 from the Eagles was hard to ignore.
RK was disciplined with the ball, and also very accurate, as seven wickets fell either bowled or lbw.
Bruce backed up her batting effort with figures of 3/9 off four overs, while Olivia Speairs took 2/5 off the same amount, and delivered a maiden.
BUNDALAGUAH defended its total against Stratford.
The Bulls put up 5/98 on Oval No 3, led by Corina Vogt and Megen Wrigglesworth, who both retired after making scores of 26 and 25 respectively.
Laura Johnston bowled well for the Redbacks, returning figures of 2/7 off three overs.
Stratford fell to 2/13 in reply, although a fighting knock of 26 off 20 balls from skipper Shani Dixon provided some fireworks.
Dixon and Caitlyn Maree put on the best part of 50 for the fourth wicket, in a final effort that read 4/80 once 20 overs was up.
Chloe Lenehan gave virtually nothing away in her two overs, with figures of 2/1.
SALE had the bye.
The Swans finished sixth on the ladder, ahead of Maffra but behind Stratford.