A PAIR of grand final appearances for two girls' sides and an super performance from the boys under 18s were the Bathurst Goldminers' highlights at last weekend's John Martin Country Tournament.
Goldminers had the opportunity to face opposition from outside the Western region and several Bathurst teams excelled against unfamiliar and challenging lineups.
Bathurst under 14s girls went down 29-26 to Canberra Capitals in their final while the Goldminers’ under 16s girls lost their decider 28-25 to the Bellinger Valley Braves.
Bathurst Goldminers spokesperson Matt Chapman said the 16s girls were unfortunate not to come away with the top prize.
"The team they came up against in the finals were very strong. We're really happy that we were able to push them," he said.
"Of course they were upset not to get the win but they played so well as a team. We changed things up mid way through that game and it worked really well for us.
"We've got some great depth in that team and the bench girls really stood up not just in that game but through the whole tournament.
"Our 14s girls also came very close. They were one of the stronger teams we took away and they were unlucky not to win it."
One of the Goldminers teams facing a big uphill battle was the under 18s boys, who were the only Bathurst side to nominate for the premier division.
However, when faced with a challenging draw the Goldminers excelled across all their games.
They progressed to the semi-final where they were edged out by eventual champions Penrith Panthers 94-86.
"That was so good to see. I actually got a couple of phone calls from coaches saying how pleasantly surprised they were by our team," Chapman said of the 18s’ performance.
"I think a few might have expected their game against us to be an easy one but our boys really took it to them."
We've got some great depth in that [under 16s girls] team and the bench girls really stood up ... the whole tournament.Matt Chapman
Another of the Goldminers’ teams who could count themselves unlucky were the under 12s boys.
Despite finishing second in their pool – with three wins from four matches – the Bathurst boys didn’t progress to the semi-finals, due to the three-pool format only taking the best-placed runner-up side.
Goldminers used the Country Tournament, which was hosted at various associations across the state, as preparation for the upcoming Country Championships League.