AUCKLAND HEARTS v NORTHERN SPIRIT
Colin Maiden Park, Auckland
1 December 2018
Result: Auckland Hearts won by 7 runs (DLS)
The Auckland Hearts continued their winning ways as rain plagued the first match of their weekend doubleheader against neighbours Northern Spirit.
Sent in, the Hearts did well to rustle up 203 for six in a match reduced to 45 overs.
Lauren Down (49) and returning captain Maddy Green (38, above) ensuring the Hearts got their first hundred on the board a a good clip in the 22nd over.
The pair shared a 97-run stand for the second wicket that was broken by Eimear Richardson with opener Down's wicket just shy of a half century, after the match had resumed from the first rain break at 75 for one.
Richardson was making her one-day debut for the Hearts after having returned from the World Twenty20 where she had been in action against Green for Ireland, and after having previously represented the Central Hinds and Wellington Blaze.
It would be her sole wicket, however, Kate Andersen ripped out the middle order for a return of 3-38, with Holly Huddleston having looked to make a dangerous impact on 32 before she was stumped at the death.
Chasing 204, Katie Gurrey (48) got her side off to a good start but needed more support against a disciplined bowling attack.
The loss of returning WHITE FERN Bernadine Bezuidenhout for just 21 dealt a blow to Spirit's chances before rain returned with the score at 121 for four. With no further play possible, Spirit had been stopped agonisingly shy of the DLS par score as the Hearts maintained their unbeaten status.
The Hearts will be looking to keep pace with leaders the Central Hinds away to the Otago Sparks next weekend at Dunedin's University of Otago Oval on 8 and 9 December, while Spirit will host Blaze at St Paul's Collegiate near Hamilton still looking for their first win.