Spectacular individual performances from Bella Grieg and Yuvraj Sharma inspired their ACT and Blacktown sides to grand final victories on Thursday, and ultimately the Western NSW Under-15 Carnival’s girls’ and boys’ respective titles.
Grieg smashed a game-high 67 to catapult the ACT to a winning total while Sharma, Blacktown’s skipper, produced a much-needed captain’s knock to finish 32 not out in his side’s successful chase after picking up a crucial wicket earlier in the day.
The two sides denied the fairytale, all-Western Zone double by beating the Western girls’ team and Mitchell Cricket Council, respectively.
The ACT is the first team to claim the girls’ title after the Orange District Junior Cricket Association established the tournament this summer, while it’s the first time in the carnivals’ 22-year history Blacktown will be etched onto the trophy.
In the girls’ game at Kinross Main Oval, Western started the better of the two sides as Orange’s Emily Williams – who bowled superbly to finish with figures of 4-14 – and Bridie Minehan (2-15) snared early wickets to leave ACT reeling at 2-0.
She and Janet King (14) set about resurrecting their side’s innings, adding 41 for the third wicket to steady the ship. Although wickets continued to fall around her Greig stayed solid, batting time before being the last one dismissed with the score at 120.
Bathurst’s Amy Kreuzberger (2-8) also picked up multiple wickets, again. She was strong throughout the carnival.
Western looked in reasonable shape in the chase after Phoebe Litchfield (37) and Katie Letcher (8) added 25 for the first wicket, but the latter, day two centurion Abbie Uhr (1) and Dimity Parton (0) were dismissed in the space of four overs. At that point, Western was 3-32.
With Litchfield still out there the red and blues were always a chance, but she was the fifth wicket to fall and the side crumbled from there, although Natalie Letcher (19) did her best at the end. Western ultimately fell 17 short of the win.
Only Lithgow’s Pawan Gajula (39) provided any real resistance for Mitchell against Blacktown, he, Lachlan Coyte (11) and Hugh Parsons (15 not out) were the only three to pass double figures as the Black Caps were rolled for 111.
Sharma (1-19) snared the dangerous Coyte, who top scored on the opening two days for Mitchell.
Tanvir Singh proved the main destroyer for Blacktown, taking 4-14.
Mitchell worked hard in response, taking two early wickets to leave the eventual champions 2-31 but Dhruv Kant (35) and Sharma (32) added 51 for the third wicket before the latter saw his side home with five wickets and 11 overs to spare.
Sharma’s dig came after a sterling, match-winning 70 from 108 balls the day before against Dubbo.
In the final day’s other games the ACT finished third with a strong win over Dubbo at Country Club Oval. The ACT piled on 8-240 from its 50 overs before rolling the Macquarie Valley-based side for 136. St George also trumped South Coast.