Western has completed an unbeaten under 14s NSW Country Cricket championship campaign to claim the 2018 Kookaburra Cup on Thursday.
Another sensational bowling display and some serious hitting from Dubbo gun Tom Coady headlined Western’s final day victory, a seven wicket mauling of ACT Southern at Armidale.
Coady whacked five sixes – the last to bring up the winning runs – in his knock of 47 not out chasing ACT Southern’s all-out total of 71.
Paddy Nelson (3-17) and Mac Webster (3-6) both tore through their opposition with the ball, taking three wickets each while Tom Lynch was Western’s other major wicket-taker with 2-14.
For coach Garth Dean, that final win was the culmination of what has been a well-thought-through campaign designed to have Western firing on all cylinders, all week long.
It worked a treat, too.
“They got better and better, the results more and more one sided as we went on,” Dean said moments after Western’s final win.
“We set it up that way. We gave the boys a strong fitness program a month out. With five games in four days in hot conditions we knew it’d be a big ask.
“And it played out that way. We continued to play good cricket where the other teams fell away.”
Incredibly, Western completed 12 run outs over the course of the five games.
Fielding was an undeniable strength of the young Western side.
“That’s pretty unheard of, I would have thought,” Dean said of his side’s prowess at hitting the stumps.
“Our fielding was outstanding all carnival.”
Dean believes fielding, or the pressure it created, is what helped his side dismantle opposition line-ups.
Only one side passed 100 against Western.
“Teams never had a way out. There was never any middle-order partnerships. We just bowled them out,” Dean said.
While Western’s bowling unit was collectively superb, Coady was the clear stand-out with the willow and ended the tournament with 197 runs at an average just shy of triple figures – 98-50.
“He has a way of being able to back up with several good scores in a row. He contributes game after game,” Dean said. “He was definitely well supported though.”
Western’s win over ACT Southern completed a pretty dominant week at the Kookaburra Cup.
Dean’s under 14s side started with a six wicket win over Central Coast on day one, then backed that up on day two with a thrilling seven wicket win over Riverina, Coady’s knock off 88 not out guiding Western past its opposition’s total of 8-135 with eight balls to spare.
During day three’s Twenty20s, Western thumped both Newcastle (nine wickets) and North Coastal (104 runs) to head into the final day needing to win to claim the cup.