Mitchell Cricket Council enjoyed three tense wins over Lachlan in the under 12s, 14s and 16s competitions over the weekend in Orange.
The under 12s managed to clinch a 15-run win after teetering at 5-58 halfway through their innings before Orange’s Toby Middleton hit an unbeaten 63 and stuck around with the tail to see the hosts through to 169 from their 40 overs.
Lachlan lost two early wickets in reply but steadied with a 99-run partnership between Harry Jones (38) and Jack Milne (57) to see them to 2-101, but once those two were dismissed the visitors fell apart.
Mark Sheather sparked the collapse running out Jones, before taking 4-18 off eight overs, including the crucial wicket of Milne.
Tom Hitchenson was also crucial with the ball with 3-8 from four overs before the opening bowlers came back on to tie Lachlan down, with coach Stu Middleton saying the visitors needed virtually a run a ball with only a few wickets in hand.
“We brought our opening bowlers back on to tie it back up and they were down to the last two or three wickets,” Middleton said.
“We saw last time we played them in Cowra the top order dominated but once we cut through them they fell away.”
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While he said there were nerves towards the end of the game, it was a great experience for his young charges.
“I’d rather play those kinds of games and give the kids that exposure,” he said.
He said Toby had batted solidly for Mitchell in rotating the strike and “working well” with other batters in the lower order.
“He gave a few sharp chances early but as we’ve told the boys you have to make them pay when they do,” Middleton said.
Across town, Toby’s older brother Hugh was leading the way for the under 16s, top-scoring with an unbeaten 55 as Mitchell chased down Lachlan’s target of 207 with just three balls to spare.
Lachlan spread the runs around, with Mac Webster top-scoring with 37 as the hosts could only take 7 wickets, but the chase largely rested on two Mitchell batters – Middleton and opener Hamish Siegert (53).
The pair were cruising in a 53-run stand before the latter was bowled by Webster, and after a spell from Luke McDean (3-49), Mitchell were 6-165 with only the tail to come.
Two more wickets fell before Orange’s Gus Cumming was able to help Middleton steer the hosts home. The under-14s.
In the under 14s, an extraordinary 70 extras – including 61 wides – helped Mitchell make 3-218 with Angus Parsons (45) and Murray Fisher (35 not out) top scoring before Liam Cain (3-12) helped restrict Lachlan to 183 from their 50 overs to claim the win.