WESTERN Zone will take plenty of confidence out of Saturday’s clash with Hawkesbury at Dubbo’s No. 2 Oval despite falling just short against the Sydney first grade side.
Chasing 208 for victory, an inexperienced Western side were dismissed for 204 in the last over in a match that proved a perfect warm-up for both sides ahead of the 2013/14 season.
Dubbo quick Ben Patterson impressed with the ball, while Bathurst’s Josh Toole was the standout with the bat, looking in great touch in making a run-a-ball 63.
“We took a lot of positives out of it with all our young guys,” Western captain Tim Cox said after the match.
“I thought out bowling was exceptional, I think all the young guys really stepped up.”
After winning the toss Western sent Hawkesbury in to bat, with the decision paying off as Cox and Orange’s Liam Gough made runs hard to come by for the Hawkesbury batsmen before Cox was rewarded when he removed former Bathurst junior Ben Trevor-Jones in the eighth over.
Mitch Waterson and Cosikan Beadle began to lift the run rate for the visitors, with Beadle dispatching Orange CYMS all-rounder Hugh Le Lievre for consecutive sixes before both batsmen retired.
Wickets fell at regular intervals from there on as youngsters Patterson (2/27), Max Hope (2/27) and Joe Kershaw (1/29) kept the pressure on the Sydney side.
“Young Patterson bowled quite sharp and nice and straight, so I think everyone stepped up and did the job,” Cox said after his side’s efforts in the field.
After a positive start in the run-chase against an attack including NSW Second XI bowler Shane Mott, Anthony Heraghty was out for 17 before James O’Brien fell to an amazing one-handed catch from 15-year-old Arjun Nair.
That brought Toole to the crease, and he wasted little time as he looked to score quickly.
After Waldron and Hope fell he was joined by Kershaw and the pair put on 92 runs in a powerful partnership which dominated the Hawkesbury attack.
“Toole and Kershaw’s partnership was crucial and they hit the ball nice and hard for young fellas and got us right back into the game,” Cox said.
After Toole was bowled by Mott and Kershaw fell for a well-made 45, the last four wickets fell for 27.
Hawkesbury captain Jay Dyball said his side had been very impressed by the quality of the Western side.
“They’re a very good team for boys that aren’t always together and don’t get to train together,” he said of Western.
“There seems to be a good culture out here and some very good cricketers.”
With the Southern NSW Country Championships in Orange in early November, followed by a match against North Sydney at the SCG on the 29th, Cox said it was the perfect hit out for a side still missing some of their best players, with Pat Rosser, Trent Colley, Jordan Moran and Jameel Qureshi just some of last year’s side who were unavailable.
“Some of our big guns couldn’t be here, so missing those guys leaves a big hole in any side, but the young fellas stepped up and there’s a bit of promise about the zone to go to the future,” he said.