National Under 21 Tournament Report
Published on 22 Dec 2017
A youthful Northern Districts team returned from the U21 National Championships with 2 victories to their name.
The tough playing schedule saw them play 3 50 over games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday before they could rest. The game against Auckland was a rude awakening for the team as Auckland piled on the runs to finish on 283/4 and once the opening stand of 42 between Olivia Lobb and Nensi Patel was broken there was little resistance from the remainder of the ND batting order as they were bowled out for 95.
There's no doubt that going into the second 50 over game that the ND team had learnt a tremendous amount. An outstanding 125* from Nensi Patel allowed ND to post 204/8 in their 50 overs and at one stage the young charges looked like they were going to record their first victory, but a fine 43 run partnership allowed Canterbury to claim the victory with 4.2 overs remaining.
On to the 3rd 50 over game in a row and it was clear that tiredness was certainly creeping in, especially in the field. The ND girls fielded first and after letting Otago score freely, they did an incredible job in the last 14 overs to restrict Otago to 270/7. Briana Perry and Olivia Lobb had a handy 2nd wicket partnership of 67 but once Lobb was out the run rate crept up rapidly and the ND team were eventually all out for 173, well short of the Otago total.
The rest day came at the best time for the ND girls and a morning shopping at Sylvia Park certainly fitted the bill!
The final 50 over game was against Wellington and this was by far the best all round performance from the ND girls. Bowling Wellington out for 84, with Courtney Hayes and Lucy Boucher taking 3 wickets each. Despite losing captain Olivia Lobb for 20, Nensi Patel and Briana Perry batted sensibly to see ND home in the 23rd over to hand the girls their first win of the championships.
The start of the 20 over competition saw the ND girls up against Central Districts first. CD had shown all week how strong they were, and there was no let up when the sides met. Batting first ND made 53 all out with Lucy McHugh and Emma Walton the 2 batters to make double figures. There was no stopping CD as they claimed the victory in the 6th over. As had been the case earlier in the week, the girls had to make some quick improvements to their game and they did so in the game against Auckland. Batting first, Nensi Patel and Olivia Lobb put on 84 for the first wicket. Briana Perry didn't waste any time in settling into the crease as she cracked 25 from 18 balls, helping ND to score 137/1 after their 20 overs, Nensi Patel continued on her fine run by contributing 65 not out. The ND bowlers battled hard to keep the runs to a minimum, with Lucy Boucher, Emma Walton, Tayla Hollis, Nensi Patel and Emma Baker all picking up a wicket but crucially they couldn't remove Saachi Shahri. Saachi led her team to victory by 5 wickets after remaining unbeaten on 74.
The final game of the tournament was against Otago. ND bowled first and struggled to get the breakthrough until the 11th over. Emma Walton bowled with accuracy, pace and swing to get herself 3 quick wickets and restrict Otago to 123. The opening partnership of Patel and Lobb was outstanding, the partnership of 110 giving a strong foundation and placing ND in a great position to win their final game. When Lobb was out for 27, there might have been a little bit of tension, but Nensi Patel proved to have the game under control. Nensi showed her talent by seeing the team home and remaining unbeaten on 70. A great way to finish of a challenging week.
Kari Carswell (Coach) reflected on the week "it's been a week full of outstanding performance from the ND girls. We've had some really tough losses but the girls have fought so hard to put into practice everything we've discussed. This tournament is physically and mentally challenging, but we've had so much fun along the way too! The girls have bonded together really well. It's so exciting to see the girls perform on the field. Nensi and Olivia opened the batting all week for us and did a really great job, their partnerships at the top of the innings were great to see. For Nensi to finish 3rd in the table for highest run scorers shows you how good a week she's had, I've no doubt there's more to come from here and the rest of the team. I big thank you to all 14 players who played over the week and of course to Felicity Leydon-Davis for her support and managerial skills!"
A huge thank you to all the family and friends of the girls who supported the team throughout the week, it was very much appreciated.