Townsville Wildcatz have become North Queensland’s Beastwear NICL zone winners for the second year running, coming away with a 43-run victory over Cairns Sharks at Mackay Indoor Sports on Sunday morning.
Starting strong early, the Wildcatz scored 52 runs from their first two partnerships of 23 and 29 apiece.
However, some tight bowling kept the Wildcatz remaining two pairs to just 19 runs, and a final total of 71.
Tim Quinn was the pick of the bowlers from the Cairns Sharks, taking three wickets in one over and conceding -4 from his spell.
Throughout the run chase, the Sharks were challenged by the quality bowling attack of the Wildcatz.
Pairs totals of 9, 19, 0 and 0 saw the Sharks finish with a total of 28 runs.
Wildcatz player Jamie Heit ran away with all individual honours on offer. He was not only named player of the grand final for his four-wicket haul, but also recognised as the North Queensland Zone – Player of the Series.
Rounding out their season, a minor final also took place between Mackay Magic and Rocky Redbacks that came down to the wire.
The Redbacks batted first, and were 54 after three pairs, before a final pair of 25 saw them to an innings total of 79 runs.
Mackay Magic opening pair Chris Ault (20 runs) and Russel Counsell (7 runs) combined for 27 runs to kick off their run chase.
Little separated the sides as they reached the final stages of the game, with Mackay sitting on 61 runs and requiring 19 for victory with four overs remaining.
A wicket on the final ball of the 13th over took Mackay Magic players Jackob Frerichs and Lee Cussen back a step, requiring 23 from three overs.
The experience pair ticked the scoring rate along one ball at a time, and with two required off the final ball, Cussen put the ball away with ease to seal victory for Mackay, 80-79.
The Townsville Wildcatz are the first side in Australia to qualify for the 2018 Beastwear NICL Finals Series and will next travel to Adelaide to take on the other winners of the various Zones around Australia to compete for national honours.
Victoria’s East division will host the next NICL live-streamed match of the round on June 17 at Hoppers Indoor Sportz.
The Essendon Maribyrnong Park Bombers will play the Kings at 6pm in the women’s division match, followed by the Hoppers Hurricanes facing the Northcote Knights at 8pm in the men’s division match.
For full fixtures and results - or to find out more about the Beastwear NICL - head to nicl.com.au.
Follow Cricket Australia Indoor on Facebook for all the latest updates, and to catch next week’s live-streamed matches at 6pm and 8pm AEST.