Wildcats captain Rachel Savage celebrates the run out of Sports batter Lee Scudds in their latest first division match at East Ipswich.
Wildcats captain Rachel Savage celebrates the run out of Sports batter Lee Scudds in their latest first division match at East Ipswich. Rob Williams

Wildcats enjoy thrilling tussle with finals looming

VIGORO: Having all but locked up top spot for the finals, Wildcats enjoyed another tight tussle in their latest Ipswich first division encounter.

With Wildcats in strife at 7/30 chasing 69, Wildcats teenagers Zac Kruger (27) and Zoe Graham (10) steadied the innings to keep the competition leaders on track for first innings points.

Captain Rachel Savage was relieved when her side finally reached the target.

"It didn't look too good to start with,'' she said, praising the young players for digging in when it mattered.

"That was good and I didn't realise how close we were.''

However, the experienced Ipswich player said having such a battle with Sports was welcome with the finals only weeks away.

"It is good to not necessarily run away with it,'' Savage said.

"It makes you knuckle down that little bit.''

That's particularly the case with T.C. United in a terrific duel with Sports trying to secure second spot.

Although T.C lost by three runs on the first innings to Occasionals on Saturday, they are a team threatening to make a finals impact.

"T.C have come home with a wet sail,'' Savage said, wary of their recent form and how the Ipswich competition is shaping at the crucial stage of the season.

Fourth-placed Occasionals can also continue to be a handful with no real pressure to make the finals now.

Wildcats V Sports 1st division vigoro at East Ipswich on Saturday.
Wildcats celebrate a dismissal during their latest first-innings win over Sports. Rob Williams

In her game, Savage was encouraged by the number of vital contributions at key times.

Mum Kelly Verrall (3/9) and daughter Ashlee (3/24) were Wildcats' leading wicket-takers. Savage's nephew Zac is in his final season of vigoro.

"Throughout the year, there has been a couple of standouts here and there but we're plodding along and everyone is doing their little bit which is good,'' Savage said.

That team effort will be important leading into the semi-finals starting on March 23.

"We need to keep doing what we've been doing,'' the captain said. "Steady along the way and just that first-innings lead is the key.''

Top scorer for Sports on Saturday was Kelly O'Doherty (23 and 21), with Lynelle Packer making 17 and 21 and Jacinta Harrison 14 not out.

Megan Packer took 5/21.

In Occasionals' first-innings win, Lynne Barnes top scored with 18.

Naomi Schaper (3/18 and 3/23) and Melinda Park (3/23) shared the wickets.

T.C's top bowler was Anne-Mare Herman (5/26), well supported by captain Clare Gillett with 4/13 and 2/23.