HE admits their bowling attack was "bullied" by some more experienced rivals at this week's NSW Country Colts Carnival, but Western coach Garth Dean is still excited about the future.
Dean's Western squad posted one bonus point win across their three 50-overs-a-side games at the Albury based tournament, but there were still a host of positives.
They batted well, they fielded well and importantly, a bulk of that squad will still be eligible to play colts again next season.
"Eight of those players are bottom age, so that's an extremely young side .. that's a positive thing. I still felt the side was good enough to win the carnival, so if we go back next year with those guys as top age - that's a big positive," the Bathurst-based coach said.
"Six of the players from this team are from the winning Kookaburra Cup team from 2018, so next year that's the equivalent year for top age, we're looking forward to next year.
"The fielding was excellent, across the three days out of the teams we saw, our fielding was the best."
Dean, who was assisted by former Bathurst player and coach Damian Hanrahan, felt his side scored enough runs in each of their games to win, but were just let down with their bowling performances on day one and three.
The rules of the tournament dictating players were not permitted to bowl for more than two consecutive days did have an impact, with Harry McGregor and Mac Webster rested in Thursday's final game.
Had Western won that fixture against Greater Illawarra, they would have topped their pool. Instead they lost by six wickets as they were unable to defend their 208-run total.
"You can only bowl two days in a row. Everyone had to deal with that, but we didn't have the bowling depth to deal with that," Dean said.
"We got bullied a little bit by those top age batsmen on day one and day three, but I don't expect that will happen next year. There are a lot of positives, you never go into a carnival not wanting to win those games, but unfortunately it was just the bowling that let us down."
As Dean indicated, Western did perform well with the bat. Three players ranked in the top 10 run-makers for the tournament - skipper Tom Coady (155), Orange talent Blake Weymouth and Bathurst's Cooper Brien (82).
"Tom he was great, he looked good every day. Blake he did really well, he was a bit fatigued, he was fatigued on day two, let alone day three, so to come out of the carnival with that many runs is a big effort," Dean said.
Western began its campaign with a seven-wicket loss at the hands of ACT Southern Districts on Tuesday, but Weymouth made 53 while Brien belted a pair of sixes in his quick-fire 21 off 24 deliveries.
In Thursday's six wicket-loss to Greater Illawarra there were batting highlights as well in Western's 7-208. Coady made 72 and Brien 53, that pair putting on a 51-run stand for the third wicket.
But Western's best moments at the carnival came on day two when beating Riverina by 71 runs. Weymouth hit an unbeaten 74 while Coady (57) and and Cowra's Mikey McNamara (54 not out) impressed as their side made 3-221 off their 50 overs.
Mac Webster then snared 4-17 off 7.5 overs to help Western to a comfortable win, his effort one of the best bowling performances of the carnival.
"Everything that we planned and talked about we actually did on day two and that was only day we did everything we spoke about, like execute each individual plan," Dean said.
"We wanted that score of 220 and we got it and we wanted the bonus point so we set [dismissing them] for 130 as the winning score, not 220, and we did that. So that was as good as you can get in terms of setting targets and sticking to it."
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