WESTERN successfully enacted their revenge on Riverina to take out the Country Cricket NSW Girls Under 16s Championships in Canberra.
After going down to Riverina in the pool stages Western earned a rematch in Tuesday's decider - courtesy of wins over ACT Southern Districts and Greater Illawarra - and they came away with the title in a four wicket victory.
Western won the toss and managed to restrict their opponents to just 76 runs in the grand final but there was plenty of danger in getting over confident, as Riverina had kept them to just 89 in their previous meeting.
Many Western bowlers chipped in with wickets. Aimee Longhurst's 2-6 from four overs was the highlight while Maddy Spence (2-10) and Callee Black (2-16) claimed multiple wickets.
Western's chase got off to an identical start as Riverina's - both sides were 1-4 after their first two overs - but Longhust (13) and Ella Tilburg (11) helped get their pursuit back on track.
The hunt was threatened to derail when the back-to-back dismissals of the in-form Black (8) and Amali McNeil (0) left Western at 6-46 with less than half the innings to play.
However, the brilliant efforts of Orange's Ellen Dolbel (19 not out) and Bathurst's Hannah Knight (16 not out) saw Western chase down the total of 76 with four wickets and 22 deliveries in hand.
Western coach Andrew Litchfield commended his girls on an excellent campaign and praised them for pulling things together so quickly.
And even though it was a tall order to come together on such late notice, the players lapped up the experience.
"Usually this competition is played in October but because of COVID it was pushed back," he said.
"We only had one training session together so the girls literally had to introduce themselves to each other. It was a bit rusty starting off but they all got better together."
Some people wouldn't association elite-level cricket with the under 16s age bracket but Litchfield said the quality that was on display was excellent, especially with the ball in-hand.
"The standard was fabulous," he said.
"Particularly the bowling and fielding efforts. To limit Riverina to 76 was great.
"But, they have a really high quality bowling attack so there was some pressure on us.
"But, we got there in the end which was nice."
It's Western's first win in a junior women's Country Championships event since their 2012-13 triumph in under 15s which is surprising given the crop of talent floating around in the region.
Players from this side will be eligible to play in the Country under 16s side and Litchfield expects more than one of his girls to get a look in after a sensational display at the nation's capital.
"There were a number of NSW coaches there and I think they were impressed with the standard," he said.
"Hopefully 3-4 girls will get a go."
"We have two of the best bowlers in the region. Aimee Longhurst and Callie Black are as good quick bowlers as you'll see."
Western is scheduled to commence its under 19s campaign on Wednesday.
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