Millie Cowan continued to grab her opportunity with the Otago Sparks, smashing her way to a maiden One-Day domestic century just one day after posting a career best 48.
With Suzie Bates away on WBBL duty, there was a vacancy at the top of the Sparks' order for the One-Dayers and the 23-year-old filled it nicely, punching 105 runs of the Sparks’ 291 for eight to help the them set up a 91-run victory over Northern Spirit.
The weather at University of Otago Oval had not been majorly cricket-friendly across the days, nor anywhere else in New Zealand, but it cooperated long enough to produce the sole round eight result across the country.
Cowan built a fine opening partnership with WHITE FERN Leigh Kasperek (68 from 104), the pair piling on 169 together before Cowan was eventually bowled by Emma Parker, after 17 fours and one six in her delightful 85-ball maiden ton.
💯! A century for Millie Cowan! Fantastic batting effort this morning from her and Leigh Kasperek. Sparks 167/0 pic.twitter.com/zgyDLICB0r— Otago Volts (@OtagoVolts) January 3, 2017
The monumental start paved the way for Vic Holden to slather on a quick 37 as the Sparks threw down the blue gauntlet to their visitors.
Spirit started well in reply with Natalie Dodd and Caitlin Gurrey combining in a 57-run opening stand, while after a clatter of wickets Kate Anderson and Kerry-Anne Tomlinson stepped up with an important 80-run partnership for the fifth wicket to maintain hope.
It just wasn’t enough to smash down the required run rate, as English import Beth Langston starred with a haul of 4-24 with the ball.
The Sparks’ victory keeps them in fourth spot on the One-Day table, in a race with the Hearts and Blaze to make the Final. Rain in Canterbury meanwhile scotched the beginnings of a game and gifted the unbeaten Magicians the two points they needed to become the first team to ink their name into the February Final; an impressive feat with two rounds of regular competition still to come on February 4 and 5.