HBJ Shield: Thrilling tie prevents Northern Districts from qualifying for final

HBJ Shield: Thrilling tie prevents Northern Districts from qualifying for final

Northern Brave in action © Getty Images

The last league match of the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield between Auckland Hearts and Northern Districts went right down to the wire and eventually ended in a tie at the Seddon Park in Hamilton on Sunday (February 20). The rain-affected match saw Northern Districts failing to qualify to the final, as they were tied on points with Otago Sparks. Despite having more wins, Northern Districts were knocked out due to an inferior run rate. 

Earlier in the day, Northern Districts won the toss and elected to bowl first. Openers Saachi Shahri and Prue Catton put on a fifty-plus stand to lay a solid foundation. The duo put on 78 runs before Shahri was dismissed for 34 in the 21st over. Catton fell soon after for 46. As Arlene Kelly and Katie Perkins were reviving the innings, rain came in to halt the proceedings. Auckland Hearts were 104 for 2 in 28 overs at that stage. 

More than three hours were lost to rain as it took some time to get the ground ready again. Once the players returned to the field, the match was reduced to a 34-over affair. With only six overs left in the innings, Kelly and Perkins both went for the jugular. Perkins was dismissed for 12 off seven balls, while Kelly hit a few attractive shots to get the run rate up. Bella Armstrong played a quickfire knock of 20 runs from 12 balls. Kelly eventually fell for 41 off 46. Auckland’s innings ended on 167 for four in their allotted overs. Makayla Templeton was the pick of the bowlers for the Hearts with two wickets. 

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Northern Districts were given a revised total of 213 runs to chase in 34 overs. Kate Anderson started the innings on a positive note, hitting a few boundaries early on. Caitlin Gurrey was dismissed in the seventh over for five, while Sam Curtis contributed nine runs before losing her wicket in 12th over. By then, Anderson had raced away to a fifty. She was eventually dismissed for 74 runs from 61 balls in the 21st over. But, despite her wicket, Northern Districts were well on course. 

As the chase was getting towards the final stages, things kept getting tighter. Nensi Patel stayed firm at the crease, while Templeton departed for 25 from 33 balls. Eimear Richardson and Lucy Boucher contributed 11 and 15 respectively. With seven balls to spare, Carol Agafili hit a six to bring the equation to 10 runs from the last over. 

Patel was run out in the last over, which once again brought the match to a tight situation, where it seemed Auckland were slightly ahead. But a crucial boundary from Charlotte Sarsfield brought the equation down to three off two balls. Northern Districts only managed singles off the next two deliveries, which meant the match was tied. The tie meant Northern Districts’ points tally didn’t go past that of Otago. Sparks will face Wellington Blaze in the final on February 26. 

Brief scores: 

Northern Districts 212 for 8 in 34 overs (Kate Anderson 74, AT Hucker 2/38) tied with Auckland Hearts 167 for 4 in 34 overs (Prue Catton 46, Makayla Templeton 2/22) 

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