GUTSY FIRE SECURE FINAL
A brilliant backs-to-the-wall stand by inspirational skipper Jodie Fields and veteran Jude Coleman has helped the Konica Minolta Fire to cement a WNCL one-day finals berth.
The Fire were in deep trouble at 6-127 chasing 216 for victory against the ACT Meteors at Manuka Oval today, but Fields (84no) and Coleman added 72 for the seventh wicket.
They trimmed the run-rate required from almost six an over to four an over when Coleman fell, but the previously out-of-form Grace Harris strode to the wicket and belted 15 off 11 balls to ensure victory with 15 balls to spare.
“In the past we’ve floundered when that situation has happened to us in the past,’ said a relieved and delighted Fire coach Andy Richards.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Jacko (Fields) – it was a great captain’s knock.”
The Fire bowlers also did their job but seven dropped catches and as many missed run out opportunities allowed the Meteors to reach 9-215.
Former Australian player Kris Britt top scored with 67 off 78 balls, while most of the top order got starts.
On a pitch where scoring square of the wicket was difficult, the ACT were kept in check by quality spells by Kirsten Pike (2-28 off 10 overs) and Jess Jonassen (0-22 off 10), losing late wickets trying to score quickly after getting to 5-197.
Delissa Kimmince was good with 0-16 off five overs and produced a direct hit run out, as did Harris and Jemma Barsby.
Run outs were also a problem for the Fire who lost Melissa Bulow for 22 off 28 balls when Sally Moylan dived full length and threw down the stumps from 25m.
Fellow top order bats (1) and Beth Mooney (11) were also stranded in horrible mix-ups with Fields.
“It was probably a bit of poor communication all-round but Jodie was very determined after that,” Richards said.
“She had a nice partnership with Dee (Kimmince) and then she and Jude batted very, very smart. They just kept hitting the ball straight and picking the gaps.
“It was really smart cricket.”
The Fire cannot finish outside the top four and are well placed to finish second if they beat Tasmania early in the New Year.
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