WE’RE READY: SCA Women’s grand final captains Annie O’Rourke, Nichols Point Green, and Steph Nicholson-Leask, Mildura Settlers. Photo: PAUL MENSCH
SOME young stars who have had brilliant seasons in the Sunraysia Cricket Association (SCA) Women’s competition will take centre stage in tonight’s grand final.
Mildura Settlers are in their third premiership play-off in a row. After winning in 2016/17 they were cruelly denied the title after drawing with Merbein South, who finished higher on the ladder, 12 months ago.
Nichols Point Green has the odd distinction of making the grand final after beating their sister team, Nichols Point Gold, in last week’s semi-final.
Both sides contain top performers, however Shania McKinnon and Gypsy Gange stand out from the pack.
Setts’ McKinnon was an unsurprising name at the top of the competition batting aggregate. The 17-year-old, who debuted for the Settlers First Division side last weekend, has compiled 411 at the same average, thanks to only being dismissed once in 14 innings. She has also taken 16 wickets for the season.
It has been a breakout season for Point bowler Gange, 15, who leads the competition wickets tally with 22 at an outstanding average of just under seven.
Point captain Annie O’Rourke has put together a strong all-round season, making 246 runs at an average of 35 and claiming 11 wickets.
O’Rourke said the momentum her side had built over recent weeks would hold them in good stead.
“With the momentum we’ve built up in the last month, we’re capable of beating anyone,” she said.
“It was a bit of an odd feeling at the end of the game (last week). Obviously we were excited to get through but then there was also the devastation of them not making it.
“We would have loved to be playing each other this week instead of last week, but that’s the way it goes.
“It’s been a real breakout season for Gypsy. She’s been with us since she was 12. She’s only 15 and to be the leading wicket-taker with the averages she’s put up is incredible. She’s only going to get better over the next few years, too.”
Alongside McKinnon, Sarah Telfer (299 runs at 74.75 and 17 wickets) and captain Steph Nicholson-Leask (168 runs and 13 wickets) have performed across the season for Settlers.
Nicholson-Leask said that while last year’s result still hurts a little, her side was ready to make amends.
“The girls have really hit the finals in good stride,” she said. “The last time we played Green they put up a real fight, and we’re expecting the same again.”
The SCA Women’s grand final begins at 5.30pm tonight at Sarah Oval.