A maiden 50 and maiden century all in a weekend's work for Abby Gerken | PHOTOSPORT

Big-scoring clash in Hagley thriller



Canterbury Magicians beat Otago Sparks by 7 runs (DLS)

Hagley Oval, Christchurch

21 November 2021


A maiden century for 19-year-old Canterbury Magician Abby Gerken gave the Otago Sparks a run for their money in a close and exciting contest in the second day of action at Hagley.

Gerken backed up her maiden half century one day earlier, again top-scoring for the hosts - who this time fired as a unit to lay down a substantial challenge to their southern rivals.

Gerken's maiden century flowed off 123 deliveries and included 13 boundaries, the opener very nearly carrying her bat as she batted into the 49th over for her sizzling 108.

While Hayley Jensen will have been pleased with the wicket, by then the Sparks were already staring at a big chase in the second half, the Magicians going on to post an impressive 282/7 off their rain-reduced allotment of 49 overs.

The difference for the as yet still winless Magicians in the Sunday game was support from the rest of the order, with Frankie Mackay getting a start in a 47-run opening stand before Amy Satterthwaite put the polish on with a knock of 46 off just 53 balls.

Caught behind off Sophie Oldershaw, Satterthwaite was denied a half century in her 150th HBJ match for the Magicians, the first player to reach that milestone in red and black.

But she had contributed to 76-run stand for the second wicket - and even that would be eclipsed when Gerken and Jacinta Savage (61 off 65 balls) poured on 117 for the fourth.

It all added up to a good day at the batting crease, Gerken unperturbed by the rain interruptions as she constructed her ton. Even with the loss of an over, the team performance ranked in Canterbury's best dozen of all time, while Kate Ebrahim finished with 3-45 after taking three wickets in four balls in the last over.

And yet, they had a nervous time of it trying to defend their total against the rampaging unbeaten Otago Sparks.

Captain Suzie Bates fired up at the top of the order, getting her side off to a great start with a knock of 62 (69 balls, 10 boundaries) in a 104-run opening stand with Kate Ebrahim.

Satterthwaite finally got the breakthrough with Bates' wicket in the 21st over, then picked up Bella James in her next at 107/2.

Kate Ebrahim remained, however, and formed a dangerous pairing with Hayley Jensen.

Ebrahim (56) yet again this summer raised her bat to a half century as the pair put on 46 before Savage trapped her in the 29th over at 153/3.

The trouble just kept coming at the Cantabrians with Ebrahim replaced by yer another experienced WHITE FERNS powerhouse in Katey Martin.

Martin, too, went on to a half century, and with a free-flowing Jensen put on another century stand in the same innings, 108 for the fourth.

Jensen's knock was crucial to the Sparks' momentum, reaching 76 off just 73 balls before Jess Simmons had her caught at 261/4.

By now the match was in the thriller territory. Satterthwaite quickly snaffled her third wicket in Polly Inglis, then Martin and new batter Caitlin Blakely found themselves needing 17 runs off the last 10 balls for a victory.

Satterthwaite kept the rest of her over relatively tight, conceding just three singles and two wides against the aggressive Martin.

That gave the hosts a chance, the Otago Sparks left needing 13 off the last over to be bowled by captain Mackay.

Martin took two off her first delivery, before Mackay responded by dotting down. A leg bye turned the strike over to Blakely with 10 off three still required.

Crucially Mackay dotted down once again, heaping the pressire on Blakely who could find only two runs off the penultimate ball - and was run out going for a third.

Eight was now required, extras were needed if the Sparks were to stay undefeated, but Mackay was having none of that as she dotted down to cement an exciting first win of the summer for the defending champions.

An impressive 560 runs had been scored in the match, the Sparks falling short by just seven runs (DLS) and finishing with their 11th highest List A total of 278/6.

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