Wildcats tribute highlights champion team spirit
VIGORO: Wildcats captain Rachel Savage paid tribute to loyal teammate Rebecca Baartz after the minor premiers sealed their successful season with a grand final victory.
Baartz missed the past few games after being diagnosed with a medical condition that prevented her from playing.
However, Savage and her teammates on Saturday honoured Baartz as they beat Sports by eight wickets and one run in the Ipswich competition Division 1 decider.
"Rebecca was on the sideline with us and we all got some shirts made up that we wore,'' Savage said.
"It was sad that she couldn't be out with us on the field.''
The grand final was played on a heavy East Ipswich field due to the rain, resulting in a low-scoring encounter.
However, Savage said Wildcats' first grand final title in at least six years was due to consistency.
"We had a really good season,'' the experienced leader said. "This year it was our fielding and our bowling that enabled us to back it up with our batting.
"We weren't chasing 120 or 130 runs each innings. There was not all that pressure on us to make the runs.''
Wildcats opening bowler Kerryn Graham was named player of the final for her bowling efforts of 7/19 and 5/11.
She teamed up with Savage (5/7) in the second innings to keep Wildcats in the game after they only made 31 chasing Sports' first-innings total of 43.
Wildcats dismissed Sports cheaply for 19 a second time, setting up victory.
In the testing conditions, Graham earlier topscored for her team with 13 not out.
"I think there was only one four hit in the whole game from four innings,'' Savage said. "The ground was pretty heavy so there were lots of singles.''
The Wildcats players celebrated at the Ipswich Vigoro Association presentation evening that followed.
Wildcats finished the season with most runs (1561), most wickets (271) and most catches (89).
"That probably reflected our season because we only lost the two games all year,'' Savage said.
T.C United captain Clare Gillett was named Division 1 player of the year with 302 runs and most boundaries (27).
Player of the Year runner-up Megan Packer took 62 wickets and effected most run outs (30).
In the Division 2 grand final, Sports denied Wildcats a premiership double with victory by one wicket and one run.
Player of the final Yasmin Leeder scored 19 and snared 8/11 and 4/29 for Sports.
State of play
Division 1 grand final: Wildcats 31 and 3/32 defeated Sports 43 & 19 by eight wickets and one run. Player of the Final: Kerryn Graham.
Division 2 grand final: Sports 44 & 10/60 defeated Wildcats 31 & 72 by one wicket and one run. Player of the Final: Yasmin Leeder.