Top order fires for Gunnedah in big win in under 16s competition

With four wins from five starts and an impressive net run rate, Gunnedah has moved through to the Ross Taylor Cup final.

Gunnedah sits six points clear of the two Tamworth sides after a dominant win against Tamworth Blue on Sunday.

The under 16s side are hitting their straps at the right time as Adam McGuirk scored his second century of the competition – a brilliant 146 not out.

McGuirk shared century stands with both Kaleb McIlveen (43) and Oscar King (63) before batting to the end of the 50 overs with Zac Clarke (22*) to finish at 2-297.

"It was great to see our top order fire. It was total dominance from the first ball,” coach Scott Clarke said.

“Adam did a remarkable job in hot conditions. To bat for 50 overs scoring 146 not out in those conditions was tough for him – but it was great to watch. Kaleb was looking very comfortable but unfortunately got out to a great delivery from Conrad George.

“Oscar King came in at three and scored 63 with a strike rate over 100. Once Oscar was settled, he and Adam had complete control of the game.

“Zac Clarke came in at four and knocked up 22 from 21 balls. His job was just to rotate the strike to Adam who was completely blitzing the Tamworth bowling attack by that stage.”

While the batting by Gunnedah was top notch, the actual strokeplay wasn’t the most pleasing thing for coach Clarke.

“What impressed me the most with our top order was their match awareness. Knowing what their job was and executing it very well,” Clarke said.

With pressure on the scoreboard, Clarke said his bowlers continued to pile it on in the second innings of the match.

“Defending our big total, our captain Ash White did damage early on taking a wicket in the first over then snaring a brilliant catch at second slip off Oscar's bowling the following over,” he said.

“Our fielders chased hard and backed up our bowlers brilliantly. It made the chase very difficult. The early pressure took its toll and wickets just kept falling.”

White finished with 3-29 with King (3-17) and McGuirk (2-24) the other players to take multiple wickets as Tamworth was bowled out for 112.

Gunnedah will face either Tamworth or Tamworth Gold in the final but Clarke is just focusing on his own side.

“We suffered a narrow loss to the other Tamworth side early in the season, but with Kaleb back after injury we're at full strength so to be honest, I'm not fussed who we play. We know what we're capable of,” Clarke said.

The other two Gunnedah teams didn’t have as much luck as the under 16s with both the under 14s and under 12s going down against Tamworth Blue.

Gunnedah weren’t able to chase down Tamworth’s massive total of 1-332 in the under 14s.

In the 12s, Cley Durrant (21) and Chad Fisher (18) batted well to help Gunnedah post a total of 75.

Tamworth was too strong and chased down the runs despite Aidan King bowling an incredibly tight spell with 1-4 from three overs.

Gunnedah teams will have a bye in the final round of the representative competitions with the 12s and 14s to miss out on playing finals.