Influential NSW Breakers star Ash Gardner enjoyed the perfect tune-up for the start of the WNCL with a brilliant all-round performance in Bankstown's tense win over Northern District in Sunday's McDonald's Women's Premier Cricket competition.
Batting at No.3, Gardner made 70 from just 41 balls to underpin the Sportys' total of 156, hitting eight fours and three sixes.
She then took 3-28 as the Rangers fell four runs short of their victory target.
It maintained Bankstown's undefeated post-Christmas run, firming up its position inside the top four.
Gardner will be a key figure when the Breakers' WNCL campaign gets underway against Victoria in Melbourne on Wednesday.
Bankstown's tight win was one of two thrillers on Sunday.
Courageous Penrith almost pulled off a miracle victory against Sydney before falling just short.
Having been bowled out for just 115, Penrith looked gone when Sydney cruised to 3-104 with plenty of overs in reserve.
But in an astonishing collapse, the Tigers lost 5-8 to put Penrith right back in the contest.
The defending premiers eventually crawled over the line by two wickets, but not before the biggest of scares.
Sam Arnold (4-12) orchestrated the late Penrith revival, dragging her team back into a game from a near impossible position.
The remaining two matches were more clear cut.
Gordon set Campbelltown-Camden 176 to win and was never really threatened.
Shannon Heath took 3-19 as the Ghosts collapsed to be all out 87.
St George-Sutherland solidified its position in the top four with a comfortable 63-run win over Parramatta.
Sydney (63pts) leads the competition from Northern District (50), St George-Sutherland (49) and Bankstown (48.5).