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Women’s country week cricket: Geraldton falls just short again against Bunbury Red in grand final

Victor TantiGeraldton Guardian
Olivia Bidwell punches through the off side.
Camera IconOlivia Bidwell punches through the off side. Credit: Jon Gellweiler/Jon Gellweiler

Call it deja vu, but Geraldton’s best women cricketers again almost won Country Week against competition favourite Bunbury Red in a thrilling contest.

Last year’s decider between the same teams was decided by one wicket, while the difference in Monday’s grand final in Bunbury was one run.

Joanne Walker lets one go.
Camera IconJoanne Walker lets one go. Credit: Jon Gellweiler/Jon Gellweiler

In the 2023 final, Geraldton made 9-101 and with Bunbury Red 3-82 in the chase, it was all but done. Then wickets tumbled but with four balls left Bunbury snuck home by a single wicket.

This time, the Reds batted first and made 5-119 with runs from Hollie Perkin (22) and Matilda Richings (16) and a handy unbroken 38 runs from Amber Boyd (17 not out) and Lily Finlay (13 not out).

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Geraldton captain Jo Walker (2-13) and Ashlyn Thompson (0-14) both bowled four overs and were best of the attack.

Geraldton’s reply started poorly with Lauren Newman, Ruth Vorster and Meg Spalding out in a tally of 3-30. Soon after the required run rate had ballooned to seven an over.

Then Olivia Bidwell (47), batting confidently, was joined by Belinda Burrows (32) and they put on 52.

Walker helped Bidwell add 13 more and with two overs left Geraldton needed 19 runs, which became nine off the last over and dramatically, off the last ball, two to win or one to force a super-over.

But Finlay (3-17) had Bidwell stumped by Lucy Mullens and Bunbury Red were one-run winners and champions again. Geraldton was left to rue the 40 sundries they conceded compared to Bunbury’s 10.

Sarah Prickett whips the bails off.
Camera IconSarah Prickett whips the bails off. Credit: Jon Gellweiler/Jon Gellweiler

Other highlights of the five-game campaign were Newman’s 106 against Peel Blue and her 48 against Bunbury Blue which helped give her 166 runs at 33.20 and Walker’s nine carnival wickets at 11.88 runs each.

Geraldton’s twos, contesting the B-Section, made their grand final but lost to West Pilbara by nine wickets.

Still, to make the decider was a fine effort from Amanda Gundry’s team and showed last season’s title-winning result was no fluke.

Highlights included when Gundry and Isabelle MacPherson opened against Peel Maroon and both made 57 and Kylie Bremner’s 54 versus Bunbury Blue and 34 in a qualifier against West Pilbara.

Geraldton's Lauren Newman made 106 off 54 balls against Peel Blue.
Camera IconGeraldton's Lauren Newman made 106 off 54 balls against Peel Blue. Credit: Supplied

MacPherson also had a haul of 5-7 against Bunbury Blue and ended the tour with nine wickets at 8.44.

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