By Nick Bailey

Bankstown are the 2007-8 Sydney Women’s First Grade Cricket Competition champions after a comprehensive 65-run victory over Universities in the final at Bankstown Oval on Sunday.

Appearing in their third consecutive grand final, Bankstown were all out for a modest 145 off 50 overs, Nikki Honeysett top-scoring with 29 and Sarah Aley (25) the only other player to break 20 in the Bankstown batting line-up.
Kate Owen was the pick of the Universities’ bowlers, taking 5-38 from her 10 overs, with Alison Parkin (2-43) providing solid support.

In pursuit of the 146 runs needed to secure a maiden grade competition premiership, Universities were bowled out for a disappointing total of 90 from 42.5 overs.
Opener Rosamond Kember top-scored with 26 and Erica Meyer produced a defiant 16 batting down the order.
After a solid opening stand of 33, Universities collapsed to be 6-52 after the Bankstown attack, spearheaded by Sharon Millanta (5-11) and Belinda Allard (3-14), ripped through the top order. But despite some late resistance the University of Sydney/University of New South Wales composite side succumbed to 65-run defeat.

In a bittersweet twist to the afternoon’s events, Universities’ missing stars Lisa Sthalekar and Kate and Alex Blackwell formed part of the Australian side which claimed a thrilling 3-2 Rose Bowl series victory after defeating New Zealand by eight wickets in the fifth and final match at Bert Sucliffe Oval in Lincoln, New Zealand, over the weekend.

Alex Blackwell and Sthalekar starred for Australia with the bat, belting 91 and 61 not out respectively in Australia’s innings of 2-250 from 46.5 overs, successfully chasing down New Zealand’s total of 7-247 from their 50 overs. It was Australia’s seventh consecutive Rose Bowl Series victory.