McDonald leads charge to put NSW on front foot
CRICKET: Grafton's Naomi McDonald is leading the charge for NSW Country in their bid for glory at the Australian Country Cricket Women's Championships in Toowoomba.
The opening batter is currently the leading run scorer for the Blues at the seven-day tournament, which enters the semi-finals on Saturday.
She said she "had a lot of pride" in being part of the team and she enjoyed being back with a group she had become familiar with.
"I have come away to this for the last three years now and a lot of the girls in the team have been playing in the tournament together," she said.
"It is a lot of cricket in a short time."
Consisting of seven twenty20 matches across five days before the finals over the weekend, NSW has started the tournament with four wins from six matches.
McDonald has produced scores of 11, 21, 54, 25, 42 and 25 for a total of 178 runs at an average of 29.67 to be her state's leading run scorer.
Her 42 off 54 balls on Thursday helped NSW post 7 for 113 against the Queensland side, which includes fellow Grafton product Amy Riddell batting at No.3 and bowling spin.
Riddell went wicketless and scored just 12 in her side's unsuccessful run chase, finishing 7 for 91.
However, the two sides clashed again yesterday, with Riddell scoring 35 in the side's total of 3 for 116. Sparingly used this week with the ball as a left arm seamer, McDonald took 2 for 28 off 4 overs.
McDonald scored 25 off 34 balls to help NSW off to a solid start, but the run chase got the wobbles and fell 10 runs short of the target. Riddell featured in the field with a wicket, a catch and a run out.
"There is always a good rivalry with the Queensland girls and hopefully we can get a good result there and get back to getting some wins on the board," McDonald told The Daily Examiner prior to the double header with the hosts, and after her side's only loss to East Asia Pacific.
Clearly in good form, McDonald is hoping to carry it through the business end of the tournament.
"Yeah I feel like I am hitting the ball well," she said.
"It is coming off alright at the moment.
"It is just about giving myself time.
"Each innings so far I have got off to some good starts and I just need to make sure I keep going on with it.
NSW can cement their position in the top two today when they take on last-placed Western Australia.