Western has kicked its Kookaburra Cup campaign off in style, running down a tricky Central Coast total to win by six wickets on Monday.
Played at Rologas Park in Armidale, the Western under 14s side lost the toss but bowled tightly to restrict its round one opponent to the fairly modest total of 7-95 off 40 overs.
In a miserly display of bowling from the entire Western attack, Hugh Ridley, Patty Nelson, Tom Lynch and Mac Webster all starred with the ball while a direct-hit, run out from Harry Bayliss helped stunt any momentum the Central Coast side had during its stint at the crease.
Coach Garth Dean praised his line-up.
“The bowlers all bowled well. Two run outs, it gave them no momentum. It wasn’t a big score, not par, I don’t think, even with a slow outfield,” Dean said.
“When we batted, it was just about winning. Central Coast is always a hard game.
“We’ve got Riverina up next, they’ll be good. It’ll be a real test.”
Despite losing Dubbo opener Koda Sissan early in the piece, Cowra gun Mikey McNamara and first drop Tom Coady both steadied the Western ship.
The pair guided their side to 1-41 before Coady fell for a well made 18 and while McNamara (22) soon departed, too, Bayliss (18 not out) produced a timely captain’s knock in a 41-run fifth wicket partnership alongside Webster (15no), the pair guiding Western home with six wickets in the shed and four overs to spare.
Cooper Brien was the other major contributor in Western’s chase, accumulating 14 to kick off his country championship campaign well.
With the ball for Central Coast, seamer Nick Toohey proved more than a handful, taking 2-13 off his eight overs which also included a staggering five maidens.
It’s the start to the tournament Western was banking on, with massive challenges looming over the course of the next week.
Western plays Riverina in its second Kookaburra Cup clash on Tuesday before tackling the might of Newcastle and then North Coastal in back-to-back matches on Wednesday.
Western rounds out its campaign with a tough clash against ACT Southern on Thursday.
In other round one results, Central Northern accounted for North Coastal by 105 runs at Armidale Sportsround, Newcastle set an impressive 6-204 in its 40 overs to beat Illawarra by 43 runs in a high scoring game the Armidale School while the Riverina easily accounted for the ACT Southern side.