Defending champions Hawke's Bay take on Plumbing World Wairarapa on Monday, looking for back-to-back titles in the Under-18 Girls competition during the annual Cricket Express Whanganui Festival of Cricket tournament.
The two teams were the only unbeaten sides in the tournament until Sunday afternoon when they met each other. Unfortunately, play went on to beyond the Chronicle's deadline, so the outcome was unavailable for print.
However, both had done enough in their round robin matches to secure a finals berth on Monday.
Since play began on Friday afternoon until yesterday's morning session at the new Whanganui Collegiate venue, Wairarapa had demolished the Manawatu girls, BJ's Building Supplies Horowhenua-Kapiti/Whanganui Combined, Taranaki Secondary Girls and Admark Print Development Crichq Wellington Girls to make today's final.
Hawkes Bay just as easily beat Taranaki, Manawatu, Wellington and Horowhenua-Kapiti Combined on their path to the final.
Wairarapa bundled Manawatu all out for 79 runs on Friday and it was left to openers Macy Lyford (40 not out), Kayama Jone-Dennes (15 not out) and extras (25) to easily reel in the low target in just over eight overs.
On Saturday, Wairarapa just as easily accounted for the Horowhenua-Kapiti Combined side who were all out for 82 runs. Gracie Donaldson did most of the damage for Wairarapa, taking 6/13 off five overs, while openers Olivia Cark (35no) and Jones-Dennes (38no) made no game of it.
Also on Saturday Wairarapa were given slightly sterner opposition from Taranaki. Going into bat first Ocean Bartlett retired not out on 50 runs, while team ate Hattie Vincent scored 40 of their 177/8 total. Nellie Chapman tried her best with 5/19 off six overs.
Taranaki fell short of the chase with 109/9 with Abbie Holmes top scoring with 24 runs.
One of the Hawke's Bay stars was Flora Devonshire, who scored 45 and 46 not out against Taranaki and Manawatu respectively. She and Emma Findlay also took three wickets each against Manawatu, while teammate Aniela Apperley had figures on 4/19 off five overs against Taranaki.
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The U18 tournament has traditionally been used as a development tournament to spot emerging talent for future Central Districts teams with the competition usually confined to CD sides. However, Wellington has been included for the past two years.
The festival showcases the sport on the Whanganui Collegiate School grass pitches in Grey St this year, beginning with the Under-18 girls tournament, while the main event, the national Under-15 girls competition, runs from tomorrow through to Friday.
It features representative sides from each of the country's six cricketing zones - Northern Districts, Auckland, Central Districts, Wellington, Christchurch and Otago with Auckland the defending champions.
Since its inception, the visiting teams have been billeted at the Whanganui Girls College hostel and games have been played at Victoria Park, but this year organiser Dilan Raj said the event was being kept all at one location.