Raroa Intermediate Claim Spot at Nationals in Thriller

After a week where Cyclone Debbie caused havoc across the country, Wellington weather managed to come to the party for the Girls Year 7/8 Regional Final with a day that had it all – smiles, laughter, cricket, teamwork, support, sunshine, skill, nerves and a T20 HAT-TRICK!

Maia Williams claimed possibly (nearly certainly…) the first ever T20 hat-trick at the Basin Reserve to close out the Evan’s Bay Intermediate School (EBIS) innings. She did so with a bowled, bowled, bowled combination to send her teammates on the field and supporters on the sidelines into rapturous applause and celebrations. The young seamer finishing with 3-12 from her four overs

EBIS are a school who have had a rapid and successful introduction to cricket, the students coming together to learn the formalised game (and in some cases the sport) just three weeks ago for the first time. With a few Eastern Suburbs cricketers in their ranks, the team quickly took shape.

In glorious Wellington sunshine EBIS batted first and were fearless in their running between the wickets throughout the innings. Raroa captain Jess Barker quickly stamped her mark on the game, effecting two run outs including a direct hit from square leg when aiming at just one stump! The classic clean pick up, quick foot positioning and aim resulting in a huge cheer that was heard all around the ground!

Barker (2-9) went on to clean bowl another two players to take out EBIS top four including the dangerous Libby Sexton who scored 18. Middle order bat Anna McCarthy punished anything wide to finish on 18* and was well partnered by Sorcha O’Grady near the end. However Maia Williams bowled the 20th over and with the last three balls of the innings, had O’Grady clean bowled along with Athena Ma’alo and Lucia Olney-Boyd to claim her hat-trick, EBIS scoring a commendable 92 from their 20 overs.
As it usually is at the Basin Reserve, it was very much GAME ON at the half way point….

Raroa have vast experience in their batting line up with both power and experience, however EBIS proved an equal match in the field. The Kilbirnie side effected three quick run outs in the first few overs including the wicket of hat-trick hero all rounder Maia Williams. A sense of nerves and tension gripped all that were in the ground as EBIS dared to dream….

Tournament favourites Raroa were well and truly shaken up when captain Barker was bowled for 10 by Rakaia Burwell-Garrett (2-18). However Raroa have one of the best school-cricket programmes in the region and they called on every ounce of learning and practice when it mattered, a credit to team coach Jordan Price. While Williams had starred with the ball, Abby Carr and Waimarie Carter stole the show with the bat striking strong shots to both sides of the ground and playing without fear in what was a fantastic battle in the middle.

The duo went on to close out the game in the 15th over, Carr the top scorer of the day with 25* while Carter finished with 13*. The victory sealed Raroa Intermediate a place in the National Finals for a third consecutive year. NZC hosting the 2017 tournament in Term 4 at Lincoln, Canterbury

Notable throughout the day was the terrific standard of play – a fantastic tribute to both schools, Cricket Wellington’s new school initiative for girls cricket, and also that of local junior clubs & coaches in Eastern Suburbs and Onslow.

Both teams were decisive in defense or attack and showing great intent and speed between the wickets. The game awareness shown was fantastic and it was a great demonstration of just how far the Wellington girls game has come and a deserved match-up on the greatly hallowed turf of the Basin Reserve.