The Inaugural Women’s Future Series began today in wet and windy conditions in the North-West, and due to heavy rain, the fixtures were moved to Foyle College where the all-weather pitches could withstand the passing showers.
Leinster Futures played against the NCU Futures in their opening match. Losing the toss, captain Christina Coulter-Reilly was happy to be put in to bat first. Opening with Siúin Woods, Coulter-Reilly took the aggressive approach and the pair added 92 for the first wicket which fell in the 13th over – Coulter-Reilly caught one short of her half century.
Woods was the mainstay of the innings, carrying her bat to make 123* in an entertaining innings with shots round the ground. Joanna Loughran (14), Aoife Brennan (10), Tess Maritz (15) and Maria Kerrison (13) all combined with Woods to help propel Leinster Futures to a formidable total of 281/5. Best of the NCU Futures bowlers was Jess Mayes who took two wickets for 46 in her eight overs. Jennifer Hanna (9-0-51-1), Aoife Fisher (4-0-30-1) and Gracie Keenan (4-0-27-1) were the other wicket-takers.
Leinster Futures’ opening bowlers were on the spot straight away and the pressure told when Aoife Fisher hit straight to Joanna Loughran and called for a quick single. Loughran picked up smartly and hit direct to send Fisher on her way. Isobel McCormack swung one past Abbi Leckey soon after to put NCU Futures under pressure at 2-13. Sarah Condron (5-2-11-1) bowled a controlled opening spell, rewarded with the wicket of Charlotte Lyon. Maria Kerrison was the most incisive bowler of the day, her five overs costing 17 runs while taking four wickets.
Leinster’s catching was on point with three sharp chances accounting for the NCU middle-order. Kimli McDonald (3-1-3-2) enjoyed her first match for Leinster, swinging the ball beautifully, and the moment of the day in the field for Leinster was undoubtedly when she took the edge of Abbi Harrison’s bat and Coulter-Reilly grabbed on to a sharp chance in slip.
Katie Dillon was the fifth bowler used but only bowled one ball as her yorker to bowl Emma McMurray sealed a Leinster Futures win by 224 runs with NCU Futures all-out for 57 in the 17th over.
Leinster U17s took on the NWCU Futures in the other fixture of the day. Captain Freya Sargent won the toss and elected to bowl first. Niamh MacNulty struck early, trapping Zara Craig in front for a duck. Arianna McKenna and Mollie Devine stuck at their task well to add 54 for the second wicket before Devine (20) was sent back after Lara McBride effected a sharp catch off the bowling of Julie McNally. McKenna (28) went soon after and with her wicket went most of the NWCU Futures’ resistance. The spin attack of Freya Sargent and Aimee Maguire proved difficult to face with each taking three wickets to reduce the NWCU Futures to 8-99 before McBride and Kate Woods came on to claim the final two wickets with the NWCU finishing all out for 103 in the 32nd over.
Leinster U17 openers Lara McBride and Isabel Light got off to a good start, scoring freely in the opening couple of overs. That changed with the introduction of Zara Craig, who’s sharp in-swing caused trouble for most of the batters. Craig bowled six overs for just 14, taking the first four wickets in the Leinster line-up. Light top-scored with 21. Alice Walsh (13) and Lucy McDonough (17) looked well set in the middle order before a mix-up and some good fielding by Kia McCartney saw Walsh run-out.
Wickets continued to fall as the NWCU Futures bowled tightly and fielded well, but Alice Tector (3*) and Niamh MacNulty (4*) kept cool heads at the end to see their team home safely in the 28th over with two wickets in hand.