It’s not often a well-made 74 is overshadowed in junior cricket but that’s just what happened on Sunday at Wolseley Park.
Zac Clarke scored the gritty 74 as he almost batted out the entire 50-over innings against Narrabri in the under 16s Ross Taylor Cup.
Oscar King one-upped his batting partner with his patient century as both players overcame mental barriers to reach the heights they did.
In terms of building a partnership, that’s as good as it gets.Scott Clarke
King pushed through the pain barrier as well after joining Clarke out in the middle in the third over.
“He was feeling quite unwell – he performed under difficult circumstances,” Gunnedah under 16s coach Scott Clarke said.
“When he was in his 40s or 50s, he said “I’ve got to go off, I’m feeling really crook’.
“He was only halfway through his innings but he sat on it for a couple over and then said “I think I’ll be right.”
All right he was.
Not only did he score a century but he did it the hard way as boundaries were hard to come by with the ball being held up in the outfield.
The pair struck just eight boundaries combined as they put on an 170-run stand.
In other words, they ran for 138 of their combined runs.
Coach Clarke said it was a mammoth effort from both batsmen.
“They were just picking away at it, for kids of that age to just to keep doing that [is incredible],” he said.
“In terms of building a partnership, that’s as good as it gets.
“I think both of them came off knowing there was areas for improvement in both of their innings, which is actually really good.
“They've been able to look back and identify the areas where they can improve next time.
The coach also said Zac was unlucky to not move into triple figures.
“For a 14-year-old playing on a full Wolseley field...on any other field that would have been a century – easy,” Clarke said.
“The grass was pretty spongy. Both boys really had to work for their runs. In his 74, Zac only hit the one boundary.”
A late cameo from Zoe Fleming (23) saw the score tick along to 4-242 after 50 overs before Gunnedah performed just as clinically with the ball.
Amazingly, it was King who was the pick of the bowlers as well with 4-4 from six overs.
“He had a huge day,” Clarke said.
Ashley White (2-4) and Fleming (1-6) kick-started the innings in the field with tight lines before King struck.
Braithen Winsor (2-17) and Myles Conn (1-6) then came on to claim late wickets for Gunnedah.
The combined effort of miserly bowling and good fielding saw Narrabri bowled out for 64 runs in 28.4 overs.
If there was one word that summed up the under 14s performance, it’d be fight.
Gunnedah showed a ton of it.
Despite fielding just nine players, Gunnedah pushed Narrabri right to the very end before going down by two wickets.
“I couldn’t be more pleased than I was,” Gunnedah coach Bob Price said of his side’s effort.
“They made a comeback and made Narrabri fight for their 45 runs. It was good to see.”
It was a day for the bowlers as Gunnedah batted first.
The highlight for Gunnedah with the bat was a 10 not out from Lachlan Straney but the major talking point of the first innings came from Narrabri’s end.
Zack Doring (3-8) claimed a hat-trick for Narrabri in the match he’s never likely to forget.
His effort saw Gunnedah all out for 44 runs as Straney ran out of batting partners.
But, Gunnedah then rumbled back into the match with early wickets to have Narrabri at 1-19.
The momentum quickly swung back in Narrabri’s favour as the side moved to 3-39.
There was more twists in store when Straney backed up his batting with 2-9 while Jayden Winsor (3-6) caused Narrabri headaches with his spin bowling.
However, it wasn’t enough with Narrabri securing a two-wicket win.
Price said the shortage of players was telling at the end.
“With the two extra players it would have been a lot closer,” he said.
“We were just lacking those couple of extra fielders at the end.”
The under 12s came up against a strong Narrabri outfit on Sunday.
Gunnedah bowlers Peter McCormack (1-17), Adam Veli-Gold (1-17), Flynn Cameron (1-1) and Charlie Hargraves (1-13) all claimed wickets as Narrabri scored 4-97 in the first innings.
“A couple of their batters were really good,” Gunnedah coach Matt Durrant said.
“We got a few wickets but in the end they kept hitting the boundaries.”
The going was just as tough when Gunnedah went out to bat.
Aiden King top-scored with nine runs with Flynn was not far behind with eight runs to his name.
Gunnedah finished all out for 39 but testament to the players, they came off the field happy with their effort.
“Whether they win or lose, they always have a smile on their faces. That’s what cricket is all about at this age,” Durrant said.
Durrant applauded the kids on their attitude and highlighted a couple key performances from the Gunnedah side.
“I reckon young Adam Veli-Gold was good on the bowling side of things and Flynn Cameron went well with the bat. They were our standout players,” Durrant said.