Another round of matches is complete for the 2019 NICL season, with the women's divisions now underway in their campaigns.
Victoria Men’s West Division:
After five match weeks the NICL, Victoria Men’s West division is in full swing with Hoppers Hurricanes leading the pack with five wins out of six to start the season.
The Melton Falcons are also soaring, claiming five wins on the trot to remain unbeaten and still with a game in hand.
The story of the weekend was the wild time across the border in Albury, NSW where the Albury Warriors caused the biggest upset in their short NICL history with a thrilling 87-73 win over a depleted Northcote Knights outfit.
The Warriors earned their win despite Josh Deans’ best on ground heroics, and the two-time West division champions now have some thinking to do with four losses out of six to start the season, leaving them in third place.
The Falcons themselves were tested by the Geelong Jets, eventually prevailing in a tough contest 88-75, whilst Hoppers collected maximum points in their matches against both Geelong sides.
Victoria Men’s East Division:
Just two matches were played in the abridged East division over the weekend and Casey Stars joined Melton as the only unbeaten sides across both grades, with a 116-31 hammering of the young CSB Seahawks side.
Jurgen Anderson picked up best on ground honours in some fashion, with his four wickets and 21 runs earning him a net match contribution of +35.
Meanwhile, the Croydon Raiders brushed off their loss last week in style with a 91-26 win over close rivals Cranbourne Kings, which included former Raiders player Travis Baker.
The Raiders were consistent with all pairs setting up a competitive total, before some serious pressure in the field including nine third-ball plays led to an astounding nine run-outs.
“Cranbourne came fired up and ready to play, the key to our batting was absorbing those tough moments, which created the consistency in our score”, said Raiders skipper Justin Perkins.
“The fielding was an absolute display. We kept it really tight with our bowling and gave our fielders a shot, and nine run-outs was a reflection of that work. Very happy with the way we won this match.”
Victoria Women’s West Division:
Last season’s NICL Champions the Croydon Raiders were handed an early loss, going down 93-65 to the Monash Tigers in their first round match-up.
Rhys McKenna, Madeleine White and Maddie Wright notched up 20s as the Tigers, who reached the finals series last season, got their campaign off to a great start with a solid chase.
On the other side of the draw, the Kings triumphed in a run-fest over the Hoppers Hurricanes. Their 119-113 win was despite some tense moments in the end as the Hurricanes’ final pair of Briony Polkinghorne and Kerry Garwood fell just short, scoring 29 runs out of the required 36 for victory.
EMP Bombers had the bye.
Victoria Women’s East Division:
The Northcote Pirates got their season off to an excellent start under new coach Janet Finn with a 29-run win over Cranbourne. The 99-70 victory was bolstered through the first innings with 69 coming in the middle eight overs.
CSB Seahawks started promisingly in their encounter against Croydon, sprinting out of the blocks with 44 in the first four overs, before falling away.
Croydon made light work of the chase of 70, running away for a 65-run win, but sharing the skins.