The conditions on the final day of the Central North Invitational Carnival didn’t favour anyone but, of the Northern Inland sides, it was the under 13s who played the strongest.
As rain spat down intermittently, the under 13s had a win and a loss at the start of the final day and made sure their win record was superior by the end with a six-wicket victory over Hunter Valley.
Coach Craig Trindall said opening bowler Logan Spinks (0/4), along with spinners Nick Mead (0/35) and Zac Craig (1/20), produced the early pressure which allowed Ed Montgomery (4/4) to skittle the lower order.
“Logan Spinks bowled really well and tight,” Trindall said.
“Both the spinners, young Meady and Zac Craig, they bowled well in slippery conditions and we were able to tie the guys down.”
After sitting at 4/99, Hunter Valley was skittled for just 114 after Montgomery’s destructive spell. The win came down to Northern Inland’s players keeping their heads and they did just that.
“We’d talked about the importance of building partnerships and it was not too bad a start,” Trindall said.
“We got through a tricky period, lost Ben Heagney and then the player of the weekend for us, young Ben Livingstone, batted very maturely. With, Zac Craig, they set us up for a win.”
Livingstone scored a flowing 39 while Craig carried his bat to finish on 38 as the runs were chased down after 41 overs.
The win was a return to form for the side and that was the most pleasing aspect for Trindall.
“The team know they let themselves down in game two but overall, this is first opportunity these guys have had on the rep scene and it’s a great introduction to representative cricket,” he said.
“It was very testing conditions, playing 50 overs for three days, but the boys did well.”
The last day saw the under 14s record their first loss of the carnival when they went down by three wickets to Hunter Valley.
Despite the loss, coach Dave Mudaliar said it didn’t put a dampener on the weekend.
“It wasn't a negative way end to the carnival. It was a good learning experience. I wasn't too deterred by the result,” he said.
Mudaliar said the fight from his side was the highlight of the match.
“They were mentally competitive,” Mudaliar said.
“They never gave the game away. They made Hunter beat them and that’s positive signs there.”
Mudaliar was also impressed with how well the team combined.
“I think it’s worth noting that Jack Hamilton, Callum Henry and Sam Johnson all scored some big runs but the good thing about those individual performances, their success was reliant on their teammates performing with them,” he said.
“Our bowling was effective. Kilian Apen bowled extremely well as did Matt Holmes. That success was based around the exceptional fielding.”
Rounding out the carnival for Northern Inland was the under 16s.
Northern Inland suffered an 89-run loss at the hands of Hunter Valley.
Hunter Valley scored an imposing 7/223 before Northern Inland had a good shot of chasing the runs.
Openers Adam McGuirk – who continued his stellar carnival with a steady 42 – and Benji Marshall (27) took the score to 73.
In the blink of an eye, Northern Inland was at 4/83 and the side was unable to recover.
While the results weren’t ideal, coach Andy Craig said the boys got what they came to the carnival for.
“It’s definitely the high level of the intensity of the cricket played which is what they miss in the local competition,” he said.