Three of Gunnedah’s most promising young cricketers impressed when they made their Northern Inland Bolters debuts in Port Macquarie on the weekend.
Adam McGuirk, Kaleb McIlveen and Hayden Baker were part of a Bolters side that won two of it’s three Plan B Regional Bash Sixers Conference games.
They finished their campaign on a high note, chasing 204 to beat the Macquarie Coast Stingers in their final match on Sunday.
The win was not good enough to advance the Bolters to the finals at the SCG for the first time since they narrowly lost the final in the inaugural year of the annual Twenty20 event in 2015, finishing second in their pool.
Player unavailability meant the Bolters took a very young side to Port Macquarie.
Veteran Bolters batsman Ben Middlebrook, a former Gunnedah captain, said: “We had a lot of inexperienced players at Twenty20 level, at that level, and I felt they more than held their own throughout the two days.”
Bolters skipper Tom Groth concurred that the young guys acquitted themselves well.
“I thought on the whole they did a really good job.
“It was a pretty big ask for them to come over and play at that level. They got thrown in the deep end but they did a great job,” he said.
“It was a good learning curve for them playing against some of the better players in NSW Country cricket.”
McGuirk opened the batting in all three games while Baker and McIlveen were used as change bowlers.
Both figured among the wickets.
McGuirk meanwhile was the second top-scorer against the Northern Rivers Rock making 33 off 24 balls.
After making 9-153 the Bolters dismissed the Rock for 133 in the 19th over.
The loss came on day one on Saturday against the Coffs Coast Chargers, with the Bolters going down by 15 runs chasing 7-151.
In their final match, they passed the Stingers’ total early in the 18th over, with Lachlan Cameron top-scoring with a 24-ball 64.
Middlebrook was next best with a 27-ball 50 not out, followed by Simon Norvill’s 13-ball 37.
Claire McGuirk is meanwhile currently in Raymond Terrace playing for Central North at the Under-15s Women’s Country Championships.
They won both their games on Monday defeating Western and Greater Illawarra.
McGuirk played a prominent role in the win over Western. After taking 1-13 she hit an unbeaten 28 in a 10 wicket win. Zoe Fleming is part of the under-18s side, which get their campaign underway on Wednesday.