Back to News Semi finals time in Women's Premier Firsts

Semi finals time in Women's Premier Firsts

On Saturday the Women's Premier Firsts semi-finals will be played at Windy Hill and Frankston between Essendon Maribyrnong Park (EMP) and Box Hill and Melbourne and Prahran respectively.

EMP and Melbourne finished first and second on the ladder which gave them the right to host the semi-finals.

Melbourne have opted to play at Frankston Peninsula's home ground as their First XI men's side will be playing at Albert Park.

Frankston was chosen as it is in the South East Country region which is MCC's aligned country region and a number of their players hail from the area.

The last round of the season saw two tight games while the third was a convincing victory by Melbourne over bottom of the ladder Plenty Valley.

EMP will be confident heading into their semi-final as they look to extend their four-match winning streak in the one-day format.

Their previous fixture resulted in a tight 12-run win over Prahran as they defended a below-par score of 170.

Though EMP bowled well and their captain, Briana Binch, set good fields they will be aware that Prahran were hoping to secure a home semi-final and it was perhaps overly attacking batting which saw them collapse in such a fashion.

To do so Prahran had to win with a bonus point (chase the runs inside 40 overs) as Melbourne (who were level on points) looked to be on their way to a win with a bonus point.

Opening batters, Molly Strano and Natalie Schilov, will be looking to build on their successful partnership of 65 from last week.

Strano went on to top score in the innings with 63 and backed up her batting with the ball, taking the important wicket of Izzy Westbury for 31 who was capable of securing a win for the home side.

Strano is now the fourth leading run scorer in the competition, having scored 408 at 45.33.

As well as the opening pair, EMP will be looking to allrounder Emma Kearney for an important contribution with the bat.

Kearney sits seventh on the leading run scorer table after accumulating 329 runs at 32.90 this season.

Strano's spin is not the only potent bowling EMP has in their armoury.

Emily McIntyre and Kearney are two of the leading wicket-takers this season.

McIntyre tops the list with 30 wickets at just 12.43 and was economical against Prahran claiming 1-24.

While opening bowler and Melbourne Stars' Kearney is seventh having taken 17 wickets at 14.59 and will be confident heading into this match having claimed 2-29 from her seven overs last week, dismissing numbers two and three.

EMP's opposition, Box Hill, have had to fight hard to make it through to finals this year.

Their last match was effectively a final as they were joint on points with Dandenong and required a win or as it turned out a tie to secure fourth spot on the ladder.

Box Hill will be hoping the pressure they were under in the field against Dandenong and their subsequent response - taking 8-16 will hold them in good stead for the semi-final which will no doubt be a tough match.

Their last match saw some of the Mustangs' younger players, notably Bella Gietzmann who claimed 4-21, show their ability to perform at this level.

The Mustangs have a strong bowling attack with two in the top ten leading wicket-takers and another three in the top 15.

Melbourne Renegades' Cassie Brock is second on the table having taken 24 wickets at 14.83, including a vital 4-46 against Dandenong, while Danielle Montague is eighth with 17 at 21.06.

In the batting department it was skipper Anna Lanning who led from the front as Box Hill cemented a place in the finals.

Lanning made 62, which is her highest score of the season, and will be hoping to better that as she faces a number of her VicSpirit teammates in the semi-final.

The second semi-final between Melbourne and Prahran will be a tightly fought contest.

Prahran have the upper-hand in one sense having come out on top in their previous one-day encounters this season but Melbourne will be bringing through the momentum from their emphatic 165-run win over Plenty Valley.

Melbourne's win over Plenty Valley saw Amy Vine hit her career top score of 117, bringing her run tally for the season to 326, which makes her the seventh leading run scorer in the competition.

Wicketkeeper Kylie Crowley and middle-order batsman Teagan Parker also reached landmarks making 50 and 51 not out respectively.

Prahran will also be hoping to dismiss New Zealand and Melbourne Stars' allrounder Hayley Jensen cheaply as she has the ability to score quickly and has been in good form of late.

With the ball MCC will be looking to the fifth leading wicket-taker for the season - Natalie Plane - who has taken 20 at 17.00 to take early wickets with the new ball.

Melbourne will also be hoping Tegan Orwin can repeat her impressive Round 19 performance against Prahran where she claimed 5-21.

Prahran come into the semi-final with a loss of momentum having been defeated by EMP and will also be without opening batter Jess Cameron who has scored 578 runs in just eight matches at 192.67 for the True Blues this season.

Though without the former Southern Stars player, Prahran come into the game knowing they have beaten MCC without Cameron's runs before and there are several other experienced players who will look to stamp their mark on the bowling.

Prahran's captain and wicketkeeper, Emma Inglis, has had a number of good starts with the bat in recent games, reaching 30 in three out of four of her past innings.

She will be hoping to capitalise on any start on Saturday as she did in round five against MCC making an unbeaten 69.

The True Blues have two overseas players in Westbury and allrounder Naomi Dattani from Middlesex County Cricket Club will be hoping to contribute with both bat and ball as the club looks to advance to the Grand Final but also so they are able to hit the ground running on their return to England.

Off-spinner Westbury has regularly bowled in tandem with her 'spin twin' Alana King.

The pair has shown on numerous occasions how they can tie up ends which often forces batsmen to hit out, resulting in the fall of wickets.

Like Orwin, King will be hoping to replicate her performance from Round 19 when she claimed her career best figures of 5-33 in what was a match-winning display.

Prahran also have a notable pace-attack including VicSpirit bowlers Nicola Hancock, Kathleen Hempenstall and Middlesex's Dattani.

Renegades' Hancock has claimed 13 wickets at 18.85 this season, while fellow opener but Stars representative Hempenstall has picked up 10 wickets at 15.90 for Prahran this season.

Both matches should be good contests as teams include experienced and up and coming players looking to make their mark on the game.

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