Warrnambool Gold produced all coach Matt Wilkinson hoped they would as they won the Under 15’s Country Championship at Horsham’s City Oval on Friday.
The Victorian side took out the tournament by beating Mount Gambier by 130 runs, while captain Fletcher Cozens was named player of the week after scoring 274 runs in his batting innings’ across the week.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, Warrnambool Gold’s opening pair Flynn Wilkinson and Fletcher Cozens continued the side’s strong form with the bat shown throughout the competition, combining for an opening stand of 59.
Daniel Hawkins ensured Gold didn’t break stride after Cozens departed for 37, hitting an innings-high knock of 63. By the time he was caught behind with less than 10 overs to go, Warrnambool’s run total had reached 155 and they were scoring at around four runs an over.
Needing to quell Gold’s momentum, Mount Gambier’s bowling attack stepped up. Hawkins’ turned out to be the first of three wickets the South Australian side took in as many overs, conceding only six runs in the process. One of these was Wilkinson, who departed only a few balls after notching up a half century.
Warrnambool’s lower order then batted and chased runs admirably, and the Victorian side reached a final total of 8/207 off their 45 overs.
They followed this up by successfully bogging down Mount Gambier in the latter’s batting innings. The South Australians had only notched up 15 runs when their first opener fell for six runs in the 12th over. The second opener also departed chealpy, for five runs, in the 19th.
Warrnambool’s bowlers then closed out the match by bowling out Mount Gambier for 77, with no fewer than six of their bowlers taking wickets. Matthews top scored with 17.
Coach Matt Wilkinson said the way the side played reflected what he asked of them.
"The focus has been on the top four all having 50 partnerships, and good running between the wickets," he said.
“The plan was to bowl outside the off-stump and set plenty of fielders on the off side: No cut shots, no pull shots, make the batsmen work for their runs. I think they followed simple plans and executed the basics well.”
Wilkinson also had praise for the tournament’s organisers.
“The ground’s great and the conditions have been perfect,” Wilkinson said, “We’re crying out for something like this in Warrnambool. The whole week has gone on without a hitch from the curator or the umpires.”