Bathurst trio and Western team-mates win Country Championships

BATHURST trio Ryan Peacock, Josh Toole and Matt Stephen have another highlight to add to their cricket resumes as they and their Western Zone team-mates won Sunday’s Country Championships final at Sophiers Park.

Toole (two not out) was at the crease as Western scored the winning runs, defeating hosts Central Coast by seven wickets.

Earlier Stephen had taken 1-23 off four overs as Western bundled out Central Coast for 133.

It took his tally for the Country Championships to four scalps at an average of 28.5 – not bad given the City Colts quick was a late inclusion in the squad.

Peacock only managed four runs coming in at number four in the decider, but had been solid in the three Southern Pool games. His highlights included taking 2-31 against Illawarra. 

Given Western only scraped through to the final as Southern Pool winners on a countback made Sunday’s success one Peacock relished.

“There was a bit of a wait around after our last game of the Southern Pool to find out if we had made it,” Peacock said.

“It’s a pretty unreal feeling to be honest. Especially going and beating Central Coast in their own backyard makes it that much more special for me.

“I went okay over the four games, but would always like to score more runs and take more wickets.”

The efforts of the Bathurst trio and their team-mates has Western Zone coach Matt Crawley confident the local region will remain a dominant cricketing force.

It was the third Country Championship title win in five seasons, following on from glory in 2012-13 and 2014-15.

“I said a couple of years ago that we were in a position to cement ourselves as one of the strong forces in country cricket and I see no reason to waiver from that statement,” Crawley said.

“We’ve got a really good nucleus of senior players and as long as we keep them involved, we’ll be there or thereabouts.”

Cowra all-rounder Tim Berry was named man of the match in the decider after he took 4-18 from 10 overs.

Jordan Moran then top-scored with 57 as Western Zone reached the total in the 38th over for the loss of just three wickets.

“All the players have hung around after the match and it is deeply satisfying,” Crawley said.

WINNERS: The victorious Western Zone squad together prior to Sunday's final at Ourimbah. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

WINNERS: The victorious Western Zone squad together prior to Sunday's final at Ourimbah. Photo: CONTRIBUTED