Western has one hand on the 2018 Kookaburra Cup after a stirring day three at the under 14s country championship netted Garth Dean’s side two fairly comprehensive Twenty20 wins.
Two phenomenal bowling performances helped Western dismantle Newcastle for just 42 in game one before the bowlers again went to work in game two, demolishing North Coastal’s batting line-up for 28, including a run of 8-4 in the afternoon session The Armidale School ground.
The nine wicket win over Newcastle and then the equally dominant 104-run victory over North Coastal two of the better outings from any side at the championship at Armidale on day three.
Coupled with two 40-over wins over the course of the first two days, Western now sits on top of the ladder heading into Thursday’s final day of the championship.
Western needs only to beat ACT/Southern in that final fixture to claim the country championship.
In game one of the Twenty20 round, Dubbo’s Tom Coady backed up his unbeaten 88 on day two with a similarly crucial knock against Newcastle.
On the back of his side’s sensational bowling display that rolled Newcastle for 42, Coady whacked a quick-fire 26 not out to make light work of the chase and complete the nine-wicket rout in a little over seven overs.
He was ably assisted by Koda Sissian (seven) and the not out George Cumming (four).
But, and it’s been a highlight of their Kookaburra Cup’s opening three days, Western’s work in the field was yet again impeccable.
The fielding unit completed four run outs as Newcastle crumbled under the pressure of Twenty20 cricket.
Hugh Ridley was the pick of the bowlers in the demolition in the field, bagging 3-8, while Harry Bayliss (2-3) and Cumming (1-9) both picked up wickets to set up the win.
Assigned with setting a total in the second of the two Twenty20s, Western fired with the willow to post 3-132 from 20 overs against the North Coastal side.
Sissian was the star with a well made half-ton, of just 45 balls, but contributions from Paddy Nelson (25), Tom Lynch (19no) and Coady (18) helped propel the Western boys to the better-than-a-run-a-ball total.
Western turned to its bowlers and again showed why Dean’s outfit has been able to rocket to the top of the standings.
Hugh Ridley picked up a pair of early wickets – removing both North Coastal openers – before the wicket of North Coastal’s Ryan Gallagher with the score on 24 triggered a massive collapse.
North Coastal lost 8-4 to be bowled out for 28, Ridley finishing with 3-5, while Mac Webster (2-13) and Cumming (2-3) both picked up multiple scalps.