WILL Fleming has become the first Western Waves under 14 representative to score a century at state championships.
The Merrivale batsman posted a composed 102 off 114 balls to lead the Waves to a convincing win against Barwon Rockets at Kardinia Park yesterday.
The Waves made 7-167 batting first, with Will holding the innings together. He was run out on the second-last ball shortly after reaching three figures.
The Rockets were all out for 96 in reply. Grampians spinner Lachlan Field was a surprise opener and took 4-26 to trigger the collapse.
The win meant the Waves finished second in pool B, behind Inner East Emus, and will play South East Bayside Breakers in a quarter-final today.
Team manager Gordon McLeod praised the efforts of the young side, which bounced back after a heavy defeat to the Emus on Tuesday.
McLeod said Will’s century, which included 10 fours, was one of the best batting performances he had seen at under 14 representative level.
“Right from the start he was aggressive, he hit the ball hard and used his feet to the spinners, really put them off line when they were bowling,” he said.
“He played just about all the shots, the bad balls he hit well. He was very aggressive and very determined to do well.”
McLeod also had high praise for Lachlan, who took four of the first five wickets to leave the Rockets reeling at 5-49.
“Not all kids in the top order handle spin bowling well so we thought we’d do something different,” he said.
“His bowling form vindicated what we wanted to do, take early wickets and get them behind the run rate.”
Meanwhile, a gutsy century from Dennington run machine Nick King was not enough to lift Western Waves’ under 16s to victory.
King struck a well-made 103 as the Waves lost to Barwon Rockets by 15 runs in a down-to-the-wire match, also at Kardinia Park.
The Waves finished at 9-244 in pursuit of the Rockets’ 7-259, a result which left them with one win from three matches.
Hamilton’s Angus Boyd, who plays for College, also made 83 and shared in a 145-run partnership with King for the first wicket.
Coach John Houston said the Waves were disappointed not to emerge victorious, despite the testing run chase.
“When your two opening bats make 83 and 103 and we have a 145-run opening partnership, we should’ve been good enough to get over the line,” he said.
“They bowled well towards the end. They didn’t give us too many free balls. Realistically we probably lost it with the ball.
“Our ground fielding wasn’t too bad and we only dropped one catch but we gave them too many balls to hit.”
Travis Parsons was the pick of the bowlers, snaring 4-55 to get the Waves back in the contest after the Rockets started well.
The Waves finished third in pool B and will play in a consolation final today, with a renewed goal to finish ninth.