Melton Centrals look to finals after big win

Melton Centrals Tara Keenan. Picture Shawn Smits.

By Tara Murray

Melton Centrals have sealed their finals spot in the Cricket Victoria Women’s Community Cricket north west B one-day competition.

After a slow start to the 2019-20 season in which they were unable to defend their T20 title, Centrals have started to hit some form.

After seven rounds they sit second in the one-day competition, percentage behind Geelong.

With two rounds remaining they are 15 points clear of fifth, meaning they can’t be knocked out of the four.

Centrals captain-coach Candace Hulett said they were starting to play some good cricket. “The girls started off the year a bit slow,” she said. “We didn’t play our best cricket.

“We had some new players and the team wasn’t gelling together properly. “Everyone is starting to pull together as a team and there’s been some good performances by everyone.”

Centrals’ core group the past couple of years has returned as they take further steps in their development.

They have also picked up Katrina Hoenig, from Gisborne, who has added more experience to the side.

There’s also some players completely new to the sport.

“It makes my job more exciting,” Hulett said.

“Seeing them learn every week.

“One of the girls hadn’t played anything but tennis before.”

Hulett said the younger players continued to improve, with top order batter Tara Keenan a standout.

The development of the playing group has meant that Hulett, who has played premier cricket, can slip down the order.

She said it was good to be able to give everyone else a go.

Hulett said that finals were the aim for the side, with plenty of motivation from within the group.

The top four teams make finals.

“Missing out on the T20 final hurt a bit,” she said.

“There’s also the disappointment from losing the semi-final last year in the one-dayers.

“The group is using hurt to drive them this season. To make the top four and make finals, and ultimately the grand final, that is the goal.”

On Sunday, Centrals beat Greenvale Kangaroos convincingly.

Centrals made 9-113 from their overs, before restricting the Kangaroos to 9-75.

Hulett was the pick of the bowlers for Centrals with three wickets.

Melton Centrals this week face Essendon Maribyrnong Park-Williamstown Congs.

St Anthony’s moved into the top four without a ball being bowled on Sunday.

The Saints took home the points against Essendon Maribyrnong Park-Williamstown Congs after the Congs forfeited.

The Saints sit percentage ahead of Hoppers Crossing and will this week take on the Kangaroos.

In other results, Coburg beat Hoppers Crossing and Geelong was too good for Plenty Valley.