On Sunday 19th March, the Bill Lawry Oval in Northcote will host the Women’s Premier Seconds One-Day Grand Final, with play commencing at 12pm. Both Ringwood and Carlton-Brunswick are first-time finalists and will be eager to back-up their consistent seasons by claiming the Title.
Ringwood secured a 54-run win over Brighton District in their semi-final last weekend. The Rams’ bowling attack is probably the strongest facet of their game, boasting four of the top 15 leading wicket-takers. Alison Menogue is ranked third with 13 at 11.23 and should be confident heading into the final off the back of 3-41 last match. Ringwood’s second leading wicket-taker is Roshini Prince Navaratnam who has picked up nine wickets at 19.67 including her season’s best of 2-26 in the semi-final. Sarah Chong (eight at 19.50) and Caitlyn Parker (seven at 13.57) have also been instrumental in securing the Rams’ a Grand Final spot. In the batting department, Ringwood will look to Tess Flintoff for runs as the club’s leading run-scorer with 144 at 24.00. Sarah Earl might also be a key batter for the Rams after hitting her best score in the grade (56) in the semi-final. Ringwood will also be hoping opener and wicket-keeper Madeline Wright finds form and can add to her 110 runs at 18. 33. The Rams will be looking to Wright and fellow opener – Menogue, who scored her season’s best of 49 in the semi-final, to build a good platform as partnerships look set to be crucial against a strong bowling attack.
Ringwood coach, Scott McNaughton praised the squad for reaching their first final in six seasons, ‘The players have worked extremely hard all year, and committed to the work we needed to do to achieve what we felt we were capable of, so it feels fantastic. They are all super excited, as am I, and I'm very proud of the entire group for the work they've put in and the trust they've shown in me, doing things a little differently than they've experienced in the past.’
Though playing in a Grand Final, especially your first, comes with a lot of pressure, McNaughton believes the squad is ready, ‘To be honest, with this being our first ever finals series, and just the beginning of this group’s journey, the girls are relishing the challenge and excitement of it all. The girls have been and will be nervous, as you would expect, but we certainly don't feel like there is any added expectation on us to perform; pressure is all perceived, and the only way pressure occurs is if you let it manifest yourself. Carlton-Brunswick have had a fantastic year, and have the advantage coming in to the final after beating us during the regular season; they've had some standout individual performers. We feel our team-based play will hold us in good stead and if we stick to our processes, take our opportunities and win those key moments, anything can happen.’
Every team dreams of winning the Grand Final, McNaughton explains what it would mean to Ringwood if they win on Sunday, ‘We've come a very long way in a very short space of time, so to win would be fantastic, however, it's still only the beginning of our journey. The Club and I are extremely proud of the players achievements and win or lose, it's been a great year.’
Carlton-Brunswick will be looking to make their debut season in Premier Seconds even more memorable by winning the One-Day Flag. After a challenging, high-scoring semi-final the Strikers will be confident in their ability to get over the line in tough situations. Opening batters Alex Rogers and Ashley Angus are in good form and will be looking to replicate their successful semi-final partnership of 116. Rogers is the competition’s leading run-scorer with an impressive 340 at 48.57. The last time the two teams played Rogers was in fine touch, hitting her top score of 83 not out before the match was abandoned. Determined to score her maiden Australian century, she is a batter the Rams will be hoping to dismiss early. Angus is ranked third with 222 runs and has rekindled her form at just the right time and will be looking to build on her good knock of 51 in the semi-final. A third Carlton-Brunswick batter in the top-ten is Leanne Leggieri who has scored 165 at 18.33. In the bowling department the Strikers have a strong pace line-up, complemented with spin courtesy of the leading wicket-taker of the competition - Adelaide Campion, as well as Freya Purdey and Sophie Davies. Katia Jomini claimed the first Melton wicket in the semi-final and will be looking to add to her haul of nine at 11.11 in the final. Pace-bowler Brighde McGrath was key in the Strikers’ win over Melton, taking 3-33 bringing her one-day tally to seven at 18.29 and will be looking to continue her form on Sunday. Campion has claimed an impressive 17 wickets at 10.88 and with a healthy economy rate of 2.89 has proven hard to get away.
In your debut season in Premier Seconds, making the finals in both the T20 and One-Day formats is a great achievement as Carlton-Brunswick’s One-Day skipper Ashley Angus explains, ‘I think reaching the Grand Final really reflects on the allround nature of our team. It was good to see different people step up at different times throughout the year and I think that’s been a big factor in us getting all the way to the Final. It has been great to see the core group of players from the side we started three years ago progress to Premier Seconds, so it’s been really exciting to move up the grades with them. And the new recruits we have, fit in really well with the team culture. It’s been really exciting to play Premier Twos and we’ve really enjoyed the challenge and opportunity.’
While making the final is a fantastic achievement in itself, claiming the Flag would mean a lot to Angus and the club, ‘It would mean vindication of a lot of hard work trying to get this team up and running to the standard it is today. And a lot of hard earned success for a team that values key things like friendships, over performances and positive culture, giving everyone a go.’
Good luck to Ringwood and Carlton-Brunswick in the hunt for their first Women’s Premier Seconds Title on Sunday.
Written by Georgia Isaac