Cricket: Schoolgirls close to downing Airforce

They are the best secondary schoolgirls' team in New Zealand but last week Havelock North High School ran out of ammunition against the country's airforce team.

The Peter Hensman-coached HNHS First XI fell agonisingly short of beating the Royal New Zealand Airforce side at the school ground last Thursday.

"Our spectators were all on their feet with the excitement and tension, thinking we had the game won, only to see the big tailenders hit three boundaries in the final over to win with one ball remaining," Hensman said of the RNZAF women who won by three wickets in the 40-over challenge game.

The villagers won the toss but lost opener Tammy Welsh for 18 when the score was 46. Monique Yule was out in the 21st over for 31 as the team amassed 91.

Caitlin King was back in the pavilion for four runs after a run out but CD Hinds batsman Holly Macdonald added 38 in the 28th over But when she departed, no one in the tail order, bar Olivia Addis (25 runs before she was run out) looked comfortable. "We were dismissed for 152 in the 36th over so we made the big mistake in cricket of not batting the allotted 40 overs," Hensman lamented.

Two strike bowlers down (Bhamini Rangnekar unavailable due to injury and Macdonald unable to bowl due to a finger injury), others had to step up.

An early wicket in the third over preceded a 47-run partnership, which looked ominous as RNZAF made their intentions clear.

"But we kept taking regular wickets and a fine spell of tandem bowling by Erica Sinclair and Neesha Johnson slowed the run rate to a point where the RNZAF fell behind the asking rate and the pressure fell back on them."

Defensive field placements, athleticism and and tight bowling saw RNZAF needing 13 to win off the last over with two fresh batsmen at the crease and seven wickets down.

RNZAF's three boundaries proved the difference but HNHS will reflect on their batting that could have put them on the right side of the ledger. Sinclair was the pick of bowlers with 2-17 off 8 overs. Natalya Taylor got 2-28 off 7, King 2-30 off 8 and Johnson 1-31 off 8.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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