Day two of the Women’s Future Series was a learning experience for both Leinster teams as they each struggled with the bat. The two matches were once again played on mats at Foyle college as the flash floods from the previous few days continued to wreak havoc around the North West area.
Leinster Futures played the NWCU Futures and winning the toss, captain Christina Coulter-Reilly won the toss and elected to bat first. Coulter-Reilly (25) looked in good form before Charlie Scott took her outside edge. Scott took three key wickets, dismissing both openers and number five, Katie Dillon.
It was Zara Craig who did the most damage, though, taking five wickets for just seven runs in six overs – an incredible spell of swing bowling that all but handed victory to the North West. Number nine, Maria Kerrison (22), and 10, Sarah Condron (23), offered stout resistance to help Leinster Futures to a defendable 112 all-out in the 37th over.
Early wickets from Condron and Isobel McCormack gave Leinster hope of a surprise win but North Wests Mollie Devine (56) came in at three and dug in to almost bat through and see her side home. Wickets fell at regular intervals with Ellie McGee (8-1-17-1) particularly impressive but in the end, Leinster had not scored enough runs and North West chased down 113 to win by three wickets in the 38th over.
The other game of the day was between Leinster U17s and NCU Futures. Leinster U17s batted first and although a number of batters got starts, none could go on to make a big total. Isabel Light (25), Alice Walsh (13), Lucy McDonough (16) and Alice Tector (30*) were the day’s top-scorers as Leinster U17s made 157 all-out in the 36th over. The target of 158 was below par on a ground with small boundaries and unfortunately for Leinster, none of the nine bowlers used could make big inroads into the NCU line-up. Captain Freya Sargent (7-0-21-1) was the pick of the bowlers, while Alice Walsh (2-0-12-1), Jennifer Burns (3-0-13-1) and Niamh MacNulty (6.5-0-27-1) were the other wicket-takers. Burns also effected a run-out to account for the fifth wicket to fall as the NCU Futures chased down their target in the 31st over.
Day two’s results meant that each team had one win to their name going into the final day of the Series. The two Leinster sides faced each other at St Johnston in Donegal. Unfortunately, Sunday’s rain meant that the grass wicket was still unplayable, so the Leinster teams were once again on the synthetic wicket.
Coulter-Reilly won another toss and put Leinster U17s in to bat. Alice Tector moved up to number three in the line up and showed good patience as she was the last wicket to fall, run out in the 35th over for a well-made 43. No other batters got going as the Leinster Futures showed good discipline with the ball and fielded particularly well. Freya Sargent (20) and Aimee Maguire (13) were the only other batters to make double figures and help the U17s to 128 all-out.
Leinster Futures started well with an opening stand of 52 between Siúin Woods (30) and Coulter-Reilly (14) breaking the back of the chase. A few quick wickets saw them reduced to 74-4 and just opened the door for the U17s. But a well-measured innings from Tess Maritz (28*) in tandem with Maria Kerrison (11) and Ellie McGee (12*) saw the Futures comfortably home by five wickets in the 30th over.
In the other game of the day, NCU Futures posted a total of 172. North West Futures fought hard to chase it down but fell four runs short, losing their final wicket in the 38th over in a nail-biting finish.
In the end, Leinster Futures’ crushing victory on the first day over NCU Futures meant that they won the tournament comfortably on Net Run Rate, with NCU Futures coming in second place. Leinster Futures’ opening batter Siúin Woodsamassed 155 runs over the three days to earn her the tournament’s batting award.