IN CHARGE: Perfect strangers help Coffs Coast to crown
REGIONAL BASH :The Coffs Coast Chargers hardly put a foot wrong as they blitzed the opposition in the inaugural Plan B Regional Bash women’s finals in Sydney yesterday.
Former Grafton all-rounder Naomi McDonald played a starring role at the Sydney Cricket Ground and said the Chargers “put together a near-perfect performance” to beat the ACT Aces by 42 runs in the decider.
The player of the match across both the conference and grand final posted a huge 133-run total for the day.
McDonald’s partner for most of the day was Kate Rowlands but to the surprise of many, the pair, who looked like they’d known each other for a lifetime, were strangers before yesterday.
“I actually hadn’t met Kate before yesterday. We seemed to bat really well together,” McDonald said.
“It’s an easy game when the bowlers are serving up waist-high full tosses. We were never under too much pressure in the partnership but we were able to tick things over and build really nicely.”
Nerves were clear to see for a number of players taking to the hallowed turf at the SCG for the first time but McDonald, who had played there before, was cool as a cucumber.
“I don’t find myself getting too nervous any more, particularly yesterday. I really enjoyed the experience of playing at the SCG with a bunch of girls that all know each other pretty well,” she said.
“With that in mind I was just really looking forward to enjoying the day so I didn’t feel many nerves at all. It was a real thrill to be able to play there again.”
McDonald’s commanding performance at the recent Country Championships in Toowoomba was another contributing factor to displays of the highest quality.
“Coming in off the back of Toowoomba I felt like I was in pretty good form so that gave me a confidence boost as well,” she said.
Joined by sister Grace Wilson and fellow Graftonite Ellynie Cameron, the experience was even more memorable for McDonald.
“Me and Ellynie haven’t played together too much. Before I left Grafton we were both in different clubs and in most of the academy sides she was a year behind me,” she said.
“We never really played together but I used to play hockey against her so it was fun to finally get out on the park with her on the same team.
“Playing with Grace was pretty special. We haven’t played with each other for around two years now so it was great to share that experience.”
Cameron showed her nerves as she opened the bowling for the day but McDonald said she did well to shake them off as she came up big with an early wicket in the Aces’ innings.
“She bounced back really well. I think part of it was definitely nerves. As far as I am aware, she hasn’t played much cricket over the past few years so I think she came into it a bit unsure of how she’d go,” she said.
“After getting a few overs under her belt she came out with a lot more confidence and it showed because she bowled really well in the final.”
McDonald is pleased to see another platform for women in cricket to showcase their talent.
“North Coast has always been strong through the underage tournaments. It’s something we take a lot of confidence out of. We’ve built a strong team culture and that showed last night,” she said.
McDonald will undoubtedly be on the radar of Women’s Big Bash League scouts after recent performances but said she was happy with the representative opportunities coming her way.
“If an opportunity like that (WBBL) came along it’d be great but it’s quite difficult to get into at the stage I’m at in my career.
“To be honest, I don’t hold out much hope,” she said.
“I’m just enjoying my cricket for what it is, playing for the Sydney Tigers and in these awesome regional competitions. As long as I can keep doing that I’m happy with how I’m going.”