Teams prepare for finals in McDonalds Womens Premier Cricket

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The top four teams in McDonald’s Women’s Premier Cricket will be seeking to regain or maintain winning form leading into the finals, with a number of Lendlease Breakers in action as the regular season comes to a close on Sunday.

Some of those Breakers’ players include Northern District off-spinner Lauren Smith, St George-Sutherland fast bowler Rene Farrell and Gordon all-rounder Saskia Horley.

Bankstown Sports are currently in prime position to win the minor premiership and will definitely secure the rights to host one of the two semi-finals next weekend.

They lead their nearest rivals, Universities, by five points. A win for Bankstown over a strong St George-Sutherland side on Sunday will also confirm its minor premiership status.

Bankstown has won all but four of its matches this season. It has posted nine wins, two draws and suffered two losses.

The experience and class acquired by Farrell playing for her state and country, combined with the stunning form of Emily Mifsud forms a threatening Slayers attack.

Mifsud is a runaway leader in the wicket taking stakes in McDonald’s Women’s Premier Cricket and is unlikely to be overtaken in the final round. She has claimed 21 wickets at an average of 16.76, and is five wickets ahead of her nearest rivals, Universities bowler Teresa Graves and Bankstown Sports’ Emma Newman.

Both Graves and Newman have collected 16 wickets at 13.25 and 21.44 respectively.

Newman will be a key player in the match on Sunday for the table topping Bankstown along with her team mate Rhiannon Dick.

Dick is the leading run-scorer in McDonald’s Women’s Premier Cricket with one round remaining and has amassed 422 runs at 70.33 including one century and two fifties.

St George-Sutherland currently sit in equal third position with Gordon and will be looking to rediscover its winning ways after going down to Gordon last week.

An upset over Bankstown Sports on Sunday may confirm the Slayers’ third position on the table, and avoid a possible second consecutive meeting with Bankstown Sports the following week, depending on the outcome of the Gordon match against Sydney at Chatswood Oval.

Horley will be a vitally important player for Gordon as it seeks to continue its winning ways.

She has scored a tremendous 506 runs at 46.00 and taken 14 wickets at 24.30.

Isabella Fitzgibbon will also be key for the hosts. She is the leading wicket taker for Gordon this season thus far. She has returned 14 wickets at the wonderful average of 12.00.

Universities have also sealed second position on the ladder heading into the final round away to Campbelltown-Camden.

The fixture presents a good opportunity for Universities given the record of the Ghosts this season. They will finish the season in last place on the table irrespective of the result on Sunday.  

Maddy Darke has been in some exceptional form for the students with bat in hand. She has scored 154 runs in her last three matches for Universities including two half-centuries.

Northern District are another team playing for pride in the final round against Penrith at Mark Taylor Oval.

Smith and Sydney Thunder left-arm orthodox spinner Sam Bates are arguably two of the best players in the Northern District XI and excellent performances by both cricketers will ensure the season finishes on a good note for the hosts.   

Smith has collected 10 wickets in each of the Women’s National Cricket League and McDonald’s Women’s Premier Cricket competitions so far this season with very similar averages of 22.8 and 21.6 respectively.

Bates also collected 10 wickets in the WNCL at 17.10, which hasn’t quite been replicated for Northern District. The captain has claimed five wickets for the club at 31.8.

Breakers all-rounders Naomi Stalenberg and Lisa Griffith are also likely to feature in the match for Penrith.

In the final round of Second Grade, Campbelltown-Camden host Universities, Gordon play Sydney at Killara Oval, Northern District are at home to Bankstown Sports, and Parramatta are away to St George-Sutherland.

In the final rounds of the Third Grade T20 competition, Universities Gold play a double-header against Bankstown at Tonbridge Street Reserve, Gordon meet Campbelltown-Camden for back-to-back matches at Forsyth Park No. 1, and St George-Sutherland take on North West Sydney in two matches at Gifford Park. Universities Blue have the bye. 

In the opening two rounds of the Brewer Shield T20 competition, St George-Sutherland play a double-header against Manly-Warringah and Northern District, Gordon also play back-to-back matches against the same opponent in reverse order at Olds Park, Penrith are at home to Campbelltown-Camden and Parramatta, and Sydney also host a double-header against Bankstown and Universities.

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