THE bragging rights for the best under-14 outfit in Western Zone will be decided this Sunday when Mitchell Cricket Council squares off with Macquarie Valley, in a winner-takes-all battle.
Having scored two victories each in 2018-2019, the rivals are locked on eight points with one round to play.
That round is this Sunday in Dubbo.
Given the nature of this match, it would be understandable for players to be nervous.
However, Mitchell coach Bill Hall says that is not the case for his troops.
“They aren’t really nervous. The players really just play cricket and have put the winning or losing aspect out of their minds. They just follow all the plans we put forward in matches and then see how we go,” Hall said.
Mitchell’s two wins both came against Lachlan, who will finish the Western Zone Inter-Council competition in third regardless of what happens this Sunday.
The only time Mitchell has faced Macquarie so far this season ended in a 38-run defeat, at home in round three.
Mitchell’s attack bowled well with nine Macquarie batsmen restricted to four runs or less.
However, the other two members of the visitor’s line up – Harrison Quinn (90) and Hugh Sienkiewicz (49) – did the damage with a 106-run partnership.
Hall says batting is the one area that Mitchell needs to improve to reverse that result.
“It was only that one partnership that really cost us in our last game with them. We were a bit slow getting runs and they bogged us down a bit as we weren’t running [well] between the wickets,” Hall said.
“All of our bowlers are doing a really good job. We just need our openers to get off to a good start. I would say that (Orange’s) Murray Fisher and (Bathurst’s) Angus Parsons are the two batsmen who should do a great job for us in this upcoming match.”
Connor Whale shapes as a key with the ball, having claimed eight scalps thus far, including a fantastic five-wicket haul. He is the top-ranked under 14 bowler.
Meanwhile the Mitchell under 12s are in the box seat to secure the Western Zone title for their division too, sitting one win clear on top of the ladder heading into Sunday’s final round.
They’ve dominated the competition so far, running undefeated through their opening three games.
Mitchell’s under-16 outfit hasn’t enjoyed quite as much success, they’ve one just one game this summer and sit third as a result.
With Lachlan on top and having a bye this week Macquarie will be looking to snatch the title away, while Mitchell can jump up to second with a convincing victory.
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