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Auckland maintains U21 lead; Century and Five-for for Central

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Another controlled knock from the tournament's leading runscorer Saachi Shahri ensured Auckland's Under 21 side remained undefeated after today's Round Three in the annual NZC Women's Under 21 National Tournament, while defending champions Central Districts sounded a big warning with a comprehensive victory over Wellington.

Central captain Rosemary Mair, of Napier, produced an unbeaten 114, a maiden century for the Under 21 veteran. The captain's knock ensured her side posted a defendable tally against Wellington before Wairarapa's young Georgia Atkinson produced a devastatingly quick five-wicket bag to dismiss their opponents with head-turning figures of 2.2-1-3-5.

DAY THREE RESULTS

Central Districts U21 beat Wellington U21 by 91 runs

Central skipper Rosemary Mair's maiden unbeaten century was backed up by young Wairarapa Koru and fellow Central Hind Georgia Atkinson with the ball as defending champions Central grabbed their second win of the tournament.

Atkinson's 5-3 off just 2.2 overs (including a maiden) cut short Wellington's chase in the 44th over after Central's first-up tally of 223 proved insurmountable.

Sent in, earlier Napier Central Hind Mair entered the game in the sixth over and this time found enough support to reach three figures for the first time, the experienced young allrounder having first debuted in the tournament in 2013.

Ashtuti provided the anchor with 46 at the top as the two layered on a 117-run stand for the third wicket after Beth Molony and Natasha Codyre had made early breakthrough for the Wellington side.

Despite losing partners after Ashtuti's dismissal and Molony's tidy work with the ball, Mair calmly saw out the 50 overs, unbeaten on 114- off 127 balls, including eight boundaries.

Kate Sims got Central's turn with the ball off to good start with a wicket in her first over, before the Wellington top order made an attempt to steady the ship.

However, Kate Fenton's gritty 27 off 78 balls would be the side's top score as Central kept pressure on with the ball, the required rate escalating before Atkinson's whirlwind five-for ripped out the last five wickets to leave Wellington well short, dismissed for 132. Central hold second spot on the points table as a result.

Auckland U21 beat Northern Districts U21 by 7 wickets

Scorecard

Unbeaten Auckland Under 21 captain Bella Armstrong looked to continue her team's high-flying start to the tournament, sending in opponents ND who were still searching for their first points.

Despite a half century at the top from Northland's Olivia Lobb (an anchoring 55 off 121 balls), and good starts from fellow opener Holly Topp (31) and Tauranga's first drop Nensi Patel (29), ND found themselves struggling for momentum against the Auckland attack.

Lobb batted through into the 46th over, before wickets to Armstrong and Jesse Prasad, along with a runout, dampened down the death, ND restricted to 158 for six in their 50 overs.

It wasn't enough to put pressure on the tournament leaders who got off to a solid start courtesy of Auckland Heart Saachi Shahri, Sunday's centurion producing 61 at the top this time, off 74 balls.

She and Yasmeen Kareem put on a 109-run opening stand, ticking off two thirds of the required runs between them to pave the way for a comfortable win with 16.1 overs to spare.

Otago U21 beat Canterbury U21 by 29 runs

Otago picked up their second win of the tournament in a gritty battle with South Island neighbours Canterbury. Having been sent in, Otago made a steady start with a 70-run opening partnership led by Tayla Brown's 43. Brown became the second wicket to fall at 98 for two, and although the wickets kept tumbling, Otago batted out their overs as they scrapped for their 178 for seven.

Canterbury captain Emma Kench had rotated through nine bowlers, the wickets shared before she headed out for the chase, but it got off to a rocky start as she struggled for five runs off 37 balls before her dismissal.

Canterbury had already lost the services of Sarah Asmussen who was unable to bat, and stuggled for a partnership as Otago kept chipping out their wickets. Eden Carson finished with a haul of 4-38 off her 10 as the southernmost team got Canterbury down to 149 for nine to win the game with four overs in hand.

All matches, which span both white-ball formats, are played at Auckland's Lloyd Elsmore Park in Pakuranga, and continue across the coming week, with the championship title to be decided this Friday 21 December [rest day: Tuesday 18 December].

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