A bittersweet career best for Lauren Down. PHOTOSPORT

Defending champs back to winning ways



17 November 2018

Nursery Ground, Hagley Park

RESULT: Auckland Hearts won by four wickets (with a bonus point)


Defending champions the Auckland Hearts were immediately back to their winning ways as their 2018/19 Hallyburton Johnstone Shield campaign got underway in Christchurch.

Asked to bowl first by Canterbury Magicians captain Frances Mackay, they chipped away at the rest of their host’s line-up as prolific opener Mackay stood firm.

Tempered by the match situation, Mackay (69 off 135 balls) lacked much in the way of support, and was the final wicket to fall. But she had given her side a half-chance, anchoring the Mags to 192 for seven, with the last pair of young Gabby Sullivan and Jodie Dean stretching it out to 205 as they batted out their overs.

But against the Hearts, captained for the first time by Katie Perkins in Maddy Green’s absence — and even with both sides missing their WHITE FERNS, it never seemed quite enough at Hagley Park’s Nursery Ground in the fine and warm conditions.

The bowling was solid throughout, the visitors getting regular wickets. Along with sharp fielding from Sara McGlashan resulting in two runouts, the Magicians were just unable to build any real momentum.

Lauren Down provided the perfect counter to Mackay’s efforts, the young opener very nearly carrying her bat as the Hearts systematically ticked off the runs, albeit with a few nervous wobbles in the middle order. But she found support from Saachi Shahri (21) and Arlene Kelly (34) as they gunned for a bonus point.

In the 39th over, Down had needed to find just two more runs for victory — and a boundary to post what would have been a well deserved maiden century — when she lost her wicket on 96, caught off Allie Mace-Cochrane.

It was a career best for the veteran whose previous high in 51 one-day appearances for the Hearts was 81, but the circumstances somewhat dampened the mood as she walked off just shy of a long-held goal.

Partner Bella Armstrong was on 10* at the time and, after young debutante and wicketkeeper-batsman Tariel Lamb took a single, it was over to Armstrong to hit the winning runs, just a day after her 19th birthday.

The two teams will meet again in Round Two at Hagley Park at 10am this Sunday.

With Thanks To

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