Written by Tim Michell, Moonee Valley Leader
IT WAS a case of double delight for Essendon-Maribyrnong Park on Saturday as it secured two Premier Women’s Twenty20 titles.
The Bombers crushed Melbourne in the First XI final by seven wickets and defeated Carlton-Brunswick by five wickets to secure the seconds crown.
Jenny Taffs was named player of the match in the firsts final after belting 41 from 26 balls as EMP chased 97 for victory.
Melbourne could only manage 8-96 after electing to bat at Harry Trott Oval as Molly Strano (2-8 from four overs), Briana Binch (2-13 from four overs) and Georgia Wareham (1-16 from four overs) put the clamps on its scoring.
Chloe Rafferty also bowled impressively with the new ball, snaring 2-18.
“It was just great to put the pressure on,” coach Karen Rolton said.
“I think they were 2-8 off four overs. Obviously (it was) an ideal start and hard for them to recover after that.”
Taffs ensured the Bombers had few concerns reeling in the target of less than five runs per over.
In no mood to wait to get her hands on the trophy, the opener dominated a 61-run partnership with Strano (26).
“She really took them on. You don’t want to be bowling short outside off to her,” Rolton said. “Anything loose, she really punishes. Her batting has come on in the last two or three years. There’s been a lot of improvement.
“T20 is her game as well. It was fantastic for her to get us off to such a flying start, as she did.”
Melbourne briefly slowed the scoring when it removed Wareham (4) and Strano, but the damage had already been done.
Makinley Blows (10 not out) and Natalie Schilov (5 not out) completed the victory with 38 balls to spare.
EMP nearly missed out on the final, only securing a top-two finish with a nine-wicket win over Dandenong in Round 7.
The dual triumphs were the perfect start of a historic week for Rolton, who will be inducted into the Australian cricket hall of fame on Monday.
The 43-year-old former national captain played 14 Tests, 141 one-day internationals and 15 Twenty20 games for Australia and is a member of the ICC Hall of Fame.