A thriller against the Otago Sparks was the Canterbury Magicians’ fourth win on the trot in the Lincoln Twenty20 tournament rounds, but came with that sinking feeling of having left their run too late.
Wellington Blaze’s win across on the other green meant that the Magicians could no longer reach the top of the table, the silver medal now the best they can hope for, depending on the final day’s results tomorrow.
Sparks captain Suzie Bates sent the Mags in but was made to work hard to tear apart the opening combo of Amy Satterthwaite and Frances Mackay (below) who steadily built a 52-run opening stand inside the first seven overs.
Bates herself made the breakthrough, claiming Satterthwaite with a return grab after the Cantabrian at the top of her game had driven and slashed her way ahead to be 41 off just 26 balls.
Georgia Clarke (3-14) followed up with two quick wickets before Mackay was run out on 32 to have the Sparks back in the game, their opponents 90 for four.
Another quick Clarke wicket and a runout soon changed that to 98 for six, but the experience of Kate Ebrahim at six ensured the Canterbury ship didn't list too far as she saw innings through with an unbeaten 31 off 25 balls.
Legspinner Erin Bermingham continued a solid tournament with bat and ball as she made the opening breakthrough in reply, bowling Morna Nielsen in the third over.
Bates recombined with Katey Martin (above) and the experienced pair poured on a 97-run stand for the second wicket.
Bermingham had waited 14 overs for her second wicket, but it eventually came as Martin was caught on a 49-ball 58, then Bates was run out by Satterthwaite next over.
They had kept the Sparks' chances humming into the 17th and 18th over between them and, with Beth Langston and Leigh Kasperek both in good nick, there was a live chance for the southerners to get up from 117 for four.
But it would be tight and, despite Kasperek's unbeaten 22 off 17 balls, the former champions could not quite make it home in the final over as the Magicians sealed a tight eight-run win.