This Sunday the final round of matches take place in the Women's Premier Firsts Competition.
Box Hill play Dandenong, Prahran take on Essendon Maribyrong Park (EMP) and Melbourne play host to Plenty Valley.
EMP sit top of the table, 10 points ahead of Prahran and Melbourne, and are guaranteed a home semi-final. Currently rounding out the final four are Box Hill, but with the same number of points as this weekend's opposition, Dandenong, their match will be a 'winner takes all' fixture.
Prahran, currently second, ideally need to beat EMP to secure a home semi-final or their position on the ladder will be dependent on the outcome of the Melbourne and Plenty Valley match. In this game Melbourne will be fighting hard as they look to earn a home semi-final, but if they lose then they finish third which will give Prahran the home fixture.
Box Hill come into the final round following a 38-run loss to top of the table EMP. Once again without their skipper, Meg Lanning, who is on Southern Stars duties and has been absent for much of the season, other players will be required to step up to the mark with the bat. Against EMP only two of the top six got starts: Makinley Blows with 21 and wicketkeeper Zoe Griffiths who scored 38, something Box Hill will be looking to improve against a slightly less-experienced Dandenong attack. Box Hill were a much better bowling unit dismissing EMP for 209 in their 50 overs as Kristy Williams claimed season-best figures of 3-13 and Melbourne Renegades' Cassie Brock picked up 2-17 from her ten overs.
Dandenong will be confident heading into this match after winning their past two fixtures. The first an impressive tight three-wicket win over Melbourne after chasing 252 and a more comfortable nine-wicket victory over Plenty Valley inside 16 overs last weekend. For much of the season Dandenong were not at full strength as several of their players represented either the Melbourne Stars or Renegades in the inaugural WBBL. This gave others the opportunity to captain the side and also bat and bowl more frequently and hone their skills on the job. Having had a full-strength side for a few weeks and winning the must-win games Sunday's match against Box Hill should be an exciting one.
Prahran have won all-bar two one-day fixtures this season including a close 22-run win over Melbourne in the last round and will hope their form continues as they host EMP. Having posted a below-par score of 183 all out in their 50 overs, Melbourne looked to be easing their way victory until young leg-spinner Alana King was introduced to the attack, stemming the flow of runs and taking wickets. King finished with 5-33 from her ten overs and was named Victoria's Women's Premier Performance of the week for her career-best figures. With a full-strength side Prahran will be looking to finish the season well and carry the momentum through to finals.
EMP will be without Southern Stars leg-spinner Kristen Beams for the remainder of their season but will look to extend their winning streak against Prahran. With a number of players returning to EMP following their WBBL campaigns their side has gone from strength to strength and it has been impressive throughout the season to see the depth their squad has. Now back with the club, players such as Molly Strano and Emma Kearney have performed well with both bat and ball and will look to play pivotal roles in the remainder of the competition.
The final fixture is at the Albert Ground between Melbourne and Plenty Valley. Melbourne will be hoping to secure a win and a home semi-final, though confidence might be down following their loss to Prahran. Plenty Valley will probably be attacking in their game as they look to finish their season on a positive note having won just two matches to date. Captain and Melbourne Renegades player Kirsty Lamb and Plenty Valley's import Laura Crofts will also be hoping to find some individual form before they head to England and start the county season for Leicestershire and Warwickshire respectively.
04 MARCH, 2016|Georgia Isaac | Premier Cricket