Blue outshines Gold in U17 final thriller

A TOP-order knock, a lower-order recovery and a sublime bowling display lifted Warrnambool Blue to Warrnambool Under 17 Country Week glory.

Warrnambool Blue defeated Warrnambool Gold by 21 runs in a down-to-the-wire final at Reid Oval yesterday to finish the tournament unbeaten.

The match was in the balance until Shannon Beks had Dylan Finlayson caught by Jack Primmer at gully to seal the victory, prompting jubilant celebrations.

Blue made 8-156 from its 50 overs batting first and dismissed Gold for 135, including a match-defining burst of 4-0 to have its opponent reeling at 5-42.

Man-of-the-match Shannon was the instigator, taking three of those wickets en route to 5-16 from 9.4 overs — his second five-wicket haul.

But his teammates were equally important in the contest. 

Earlier, Riley Owen struck a well-made 54 as opener to be the glue that held their innings together.

After he departed, tailenders Lachlan O’Neill (34 not out) and Tom Smith (six not out) put on an unbeaten 41 for the eighth wicket.

Blue coach Andrew Bridge said he was proud of his players for sticking at their task.

“The boys, on the whole they were a terrific group of kids really, they did everything asked,” he said.

“You couldn’t be happier for them, they’re the ones that did the hard work.

“I wanted 150 and anything over that was a bonus. If we had have bowled tight, I said we should be right.”

Bridge said Shannon deserved his five-wicket haul, which gave him 11 for the week at an average of 5.27.

“He knew he had to perform a little bit with the ball, make sure he bowled right ... but all week everyone has done something,” he said.

Gold coach Nathan Murphy rued the mini-collapse early in the run chase, which meant his tailenders really had to fight  to be competitive.

Opener Nick King was the only top-order batsman to get going, making 24. Callum Humphrys reached 26 and Dylan posted 18.

The wickets were spread evenly, with three Gold bowlers grabbing two and two others picking up one.

“I thought we bowled pretty well and I thought those guys batted well. I probably rue the five minutes where we lost 4-0,” Murphy said.

“We batted well all week and unfortunately we didn’t bat our 50 overs today and fell 21 runs short.”

Hamilton cricketer Tim Goodman took out the player of the week award with 10 votes for his 192 runs, including 87 in a semi-final.

He led the run making while Shannon and West Wimmera paceman Tyson Gordon finished with 11 wickets to lead the bowling efforts.

In division two, South West scored a memorable win by defeating Warrnambool by 67 runs at Jetty Flat.

Nathan Stevens, 40, and Jordan Harris, 29, helped South West recover from 7-95 to post 182 batting first.

Warrnambool was all out for 115 in reply. 

Jarrod Petherick made 63 while Nathan followed his batting exploits by taking 3-6.

South West coach Kaplan McCann said the boys were close off the field, which helped their on-field performances. “Staying down at the backpackers just drew us together. All the boys are awesome fun, they’re a great group,” he said.

The division two player of the week was a tie between Casterton’s Peter Staudie and Warrnambool’s Josh Alexander with eight votes.

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