THE temperature wasn’t the only thing scorching yesterday. So too were the Central North batsmen at Nowra.
The zone U16s side blazed its way into another Bradman Cup final with a 146-run win over Riverina.
After winning the toss and amassing 5-308 from its 50 overs, Central North dismissed Riverina for 162.
It would have been a lot less but for some late big-hitting from Riverina number eight Joe Oliver.
He remained unbeaten on 55 after cracking seven sixes and two fours and reaching his 50 off only 15 balls.
But at 9-95, Riverina was well out of it by then.
Earlier, Central North captain James Psarakis had again led from the front, belting 93 after openers Max Houlahan and Ryan Hansen had posted a century-plus opening stand.
Their 106-run partnership put them on the front foot “well and truly”, Central North manager John Kilborn said.
“Max and Ryan batted really well,” Kilborn said.
Houlahan smacked two sixes and seven fours on his way to 64 (off 63 balls), while Hansen continued on from his great knock the day before, making 36.
Psarakis and Jayden Park then teamed up to further enhance Central North’s position.
They put on 152 for the third wicket.
Psarakis made more than half of those and tormented the Riverina attack, smashing three sixes and 11 fours in his 78-ball stay.
He was on target for another ton but was caught going for a big hit.
“He went for the big slog and got an edge,” Kilborn said.
The damage was done by then though, with Park also scoring 50.
Central North openers Matt Dunn and Perry Stapleton then tied the Riverina batsmen down early.
Both went wicketless but bowled well, with Dunn finishing with 0-6 from his six and Perry 0-17 off five, and, after 10 overs, Riverina was 0-18.
It wasn’t the start it needed and it never recovered, with the Central North bowlers not letting up.
Toby Fox had his first bowl for the carnival and picked up 3-22, while Jake Brayshaw claimed 3-57 with his spin.
“He broke the partnerships that looked like being a bit of a problem,” Kilborn said.
He was really good early in his spell, taking his three wickets in his first three overs.
After that, Oliver took to him a bit.
Mitch Lennon also chipped in with 2-20 as Central North reached its second consecutive final.