Geelong Cricket Club’s first women’s teams have had a successful first season, with the club into the final in the Premier Cricket thirds competition this weekend.
The Cats qualified for the final after defeating Dandenong by just two runs in a thriller at Kardinia Park on Sunday.
Losing the toss and sent into bat, the Cats got off to a good start with Ruby Couch racing to 17 before her opening partner Ella Couch was dismissed for the first wicket on the last ball of the fourth over.
The second wicket of Maddison Fitzpatrick fell just fall balls later but it brought Heidi Schneider to the crease.
With the Cats at 2/19, Couch and Schneider kept the scoreboard ticking over and steadied the ship.
The pair put on 24 runs together before Couch was dismissed for 28 in the 12th over.
Thankfully for the Cats the middle order proved determined at the crease as Schneider, wicketkeeper Bianca Decker and captain Brianna Woodburn all put together solid innings.
Schneider top scored for the Cats with 33 from 53 balls, including three boundaries, before she was dismissed just over halfway through the 40-over inning.
Decker fell five balls later, for 22 with two sixes, with the Cats looking in trouble at 5/100 from 21.1 overs.
But Woodburn and Sophie Walsh proved difficult to dismiss and occupied the crease for much of the remaining overs, allowing the Cats to reach their allotted 40 overs at 7/153.
Woodburn finished unbeaten with 31, while Walsh scored nine runs from 45 deliveries.
In the second inning, Geelong got off to a good start, with Dandenong’s top three all dismissed for single figures within the first 13 overs.
However Dandenong’s Grace Lewis and Montana Phillips put together a strong fourth wicket partnership and added another 61 runs before Lewis was run out.
The fifth wicket fell cheaply not long after, with the Cats having Dandenong on the ropes at 5/95 in the 31st over.
Needing to go at more than one rune per ball for the rest of the inning, Dandenong put the foot down and Ruby burns clubbed a quickfire 24.
The knock got Dandenong into a winnable position, needing 12 runs from the last two overs.
But the Cats held their nerve and were able to limit Dandenong to just nine runs from the overs to claim a two-run win.
Charlotte Poyner led the way for the Cats, taking 1/17 from eight overs, which included two important maidens.
Walsh, Ruby Couch, Summer Don and Grace Schrama also finished with one wicket each.
The win means Geelong, which finished on top of the ladder with 11 wins from 14 games, will host the Melbourne Cricket Club in the final on Sunday.
The last time the teams met, just one month ago, the Cats bowled out Melbourne for 135 and chased down the target with two overs to spare.
Geelong also fielded a team in the seconds competition, which finished seventh with five wins from its 14 games.
It was the first season Geelong had fielded women’s teams in Premier Cricket.