Sarah Coyte took three wickets and conjured up a run in an ages final to help Tasmania capture back-to-back WNCL titles with a one-run victory.
South Australia demanded four runs from the final six deliveries with five wickets in hand under a tight target by Duckworth-Lewis-Stern at Hobart’s Blundstone Arena on Saturday night. Enter Coyte, who bowled Annie O’Neil (28 for 20) off the first ball before sending South Australia captain Jemma Barsby (28 for 17) down two balls later.
South Australia were still in the box, needing three out of three deliveries, when Coyte walked away with Amanda-Jade Wellington (one) hitting the ball at the stumps in her run. Coyte, who finished 4–30 and was named player of the match, trapped Ella Wilson lbw on the penultimate ball.
South Australia needed three runs before the final delivery but managed only one as number 11 Anesu Mushangwe was stunned and run to put an exclamation point on Tasmania’s celebrations. the sides navigated through rain delays and had their noses in front at different stages under DLS.
“It was really bizarre. I don’t think I’ve ever been out (in the rain) so much in a game before,” Coyte said. “Easily the best game I’ve ever been a part of. The ebbs and flows. You can’t even replicate a game like that.”
Coyte said she was calm at the start of the last over, describing the reflex as an accident.
“Actually, I didn’t want to hit him on the stumps. I just wanted to stop it,” she said. “It’s a running joke that I don’t bowl my own. It’s lucky that I still have a touch of it.
Tasmania are only the second team to secure back-to-back WNCL titles, leaving South Australia as runners-up for the second consecutive year.
“It’s pretty raw. It was an unbelievable ending. Unfortunately we couldn’t cross the line,” said Barsby. “We need to come back bigger and better next year.”
A red-hot Elyse Villani had previously led Tasmania to 264 from her 50 overs off 110 from 126 balls, her third century in her final four innings.
Villani also posted an unbeaten 111 in last season’s decider to help his team secure its first WNCL title. She shared a crucial 139-run stand with Naomi Stalenberg (75 for 89) after the pair came together at 3-105 in the 21st over.
Covers came and went during the South Australian chase, which was headlined by an impressive 83 by young Courtney Webb.
Webb’s match in the final 42 left South Australia at 5-185 before Barsby and O’Neil dragged their team back into the game. South Australia were ahead in the DLS when the covers restarted with six overs to spare.
But play resumed, with South Australia needing a fit of 23 off 18 balls to win. Tasmania fell towards the end of their innings, with the departure of Villani triggering a 7-20 collapse as they were bowled out for exactly 50 overs.