Varo Media Maroons (Country) survived a late scare from the Sky Pacific Blues (Town) side after the latter almost pulled off a major upset at Turangi Field on Saturday.
The Stephanie Vaiimene-skippered Country won the toss and elected to bat first.
Experienced Mona More and June George, who were Country’s openers, took the crease with high expectations, but things didn’t go their way after George was bowled out for a duck. Tekura Kaukura came on for George, putting on some big hits to form a likely solid partnership that didn’t last long after opener More was run out for 16 runs. Kaukura continued her blazing form with several fours and a six to score a total of 49 runs before losing her wicket.
Country went on to score 138 runs for 9 in 20 overs.
Town made a slow start to their chase after opener and Tupapa skipper Anjima Ruarau was bowled out for a duck by an impressive Kaukura.
Opener Tiraa Ioteva remained steady and knocked 30 runs before losing her wicket followed by Matangaro on 25 runs. Town kept edging closer to the target, but ran out of opportunity to overcome the score after finishing on 137 runs for 9 in 20 overs.
Kaukura proved Country’s saviour in the second innings after picking four wickets from the four overs she bowled.
“Town is surely a strong side with the Pukapuka girls guiding them in this series,” Country coach Amoa More said.
“The Pukapuka players are always strong competitors and they showed that in that match.”
More said the close battle had made the competition in the women’s division more exciting heading into the second leg this Saturday.
He said they expect Town to return stronger with the intention to level the series.
“We are happy with our performance, but there are few things that we need to work on. We have to make sure that we avoid things like run outs in this second match.”
More was also pleased with the turnout in the series opener, adding they expect a bigger turnout this weekend.
Meanwhile in the men’s competition, Country has taken an early lead with a four-wicket win over defending champions Town in the opening leg.