The Otago Sparks hopes of reaching the final of the Women’s One Day domestic competition have ended, after the Northern Spirit bet them by eight wickets at Brooklands Park, Mosgiel.
Batting first, the Sparks only managed to make a mediocre 145, being bowled out after 41.3 overs. In reply Natalie Dodd led the Spirit to a comfortable victory, making an unbeaten 63 and seeing her side home in the 44th over.
Alongside co-opener Kerry-Anne Tomlinson, Dodd saw the Spirit past the 100 mark in the pursuit without the loss of a wicket.
Tomlinson’s dismissal in the 37th over meant there was a little work still to be done, but Dodd found a more than capable partner in Nicola Browne (21*) who saw out the match after 43.2 overs.
Earlier, the Sparks would have been disappointed with their total after no-one really managed to get going. Victoria Abbott looked to be making progress with an unbeaten 36, but ran out of partners as the home side were bowled out.
Suzie Bates was the biggest contributor at the top of the order, making 39 before going out hit wicket in the 27th over.
A number of players made it past ten, but the Spirit made regular breakthroughs and the pressure started to tell on the Sparks.
Abbott showed fight at the end, but was helpless as her team mates fell around her.
Three bowlers took two wickets apiece, but Browne’s two for 28 from ten overs represented the best of the figures.
It was a sad end to what has been a huge improvement on last season for the Sparks, but they will take a number of positives out of it, with some key players standing tall for them.
The Spirit finish in fifth, but were also not far off the pace and benefitted from the coming of age of Natalie Dodd. Plenty to be optimistic about next season.