Wellington Blaze and the Canterbury Magicians were both out to win, but even the victors would have that sinking feeling as they cast one eye north on the progress of the Hearts-Spirit match developing quickly further up the country.
As the Hearts cantered home to clinch their win, the race for the 2017/18 Hallyburton Johnstone Shield was over, with a round to spare.
With no finals this year, Blaze’s seven-wicket victory over the mid-table Mags at Karori Park on Saturday was tinged with wistfulness for what might have been as they moved up into second on the table, but with no hope of bettering that position heading into Sunday’s final one-day round.
Former WHITE FERNS off-spinner Lucy Doolan netted one of her best domestic hauls for Blaze with a return of 4-10, then paired with current WHITE FERN Amelia Kerr (44) in a 59-run opening stand as they laid down the platform for a straightforward and successful run chase.
The defending champion Magicians also had that sinking feeling, their season petering out tepidly and the side clearly missing influence from the likes of Amy Satterthwaite, Thamsyn Newton and Lea Tahuhu, all of whom are engaged in the Women’s Big Bash across the Tasman.
The normally strong Cantabs had been restricted to just 103, bundled out in 38.1 overs in a frustrating season for captain Frances Mackay.
Mackay couldn’t do it all herself, a key early dismissal as only veteran Kate Ebrahim (37) and Nat Cox (35) battled to scores of note.
Mackay had fallen to leggie Deanna Doughty who finished up with a useful 3-23 in support, before the Blaze batsmen chased down their target of 104 in just 28.2 overs.