THE Western Zone under 17s have validated Mitchell Cricket Council’s decision to include them in the Rod Hartas Trophy for 2012 after defeating Gulgong in the final of the annual tournament on Sunday in Bathurst.
Gulgong, the most powerful side in the competition in recent years, had progressed to the decider thanks to a comfortable win over Molong a day earlier.
Western Zone however showed its considerable talent thanks to a six-wicket win over Lithgow in its Saturday game and Sunday’s clash loomed as a close contest.
As it turned out, Western was far from overawed by playing open age opponents and responded with an outstanding seven-wicket win with 10 overs to spare.
Orange’s Charlie Litchfield anchored the innings with a classy 73 not out, after they lost Bathurst opener Mike Waldren for one.
He shared in a 108-run stand with Henry Hunt (42) after the loss of Waldren and Stuart Fredericks for nine, and from that point on they were never in any real danger of defeat.
“I was really impressed with the way that squad handled themselves. They have obviously taken a lot out of their winter training and the sessions they have put in leading up to this weekend,” Western Zone coach Trent Colley said.
“They are really creating a winning culture and the good thing about that is they are doing it while still having plenty of areas they can still work on.
“Today sundries was a bit of an issue, and there are always other things they can work on.”
Orange’s Nick Duffy also performed well for Western Zone taking 2-24 off his five overs in the final.