Ben Venue and Narrabri West on title trail

BEN Venue and Narrabri West chase more state title glory in Maitland today.

They’ve made the semi-finals of the State PSSA cricket knockout – Ben Venue in the boys and Narrabri West the girls.

Ben Venue already holds one state title this year after its hockey girls were crowned joined state champions.

Narrabri West meanwhile won the cricket state title two years ago.

This year is their third time at the finals in as many years.

They’ll play the winner of the quarter-final between Niagara Park and the Hunter winner.

Narrabri has a pretty handy side, with five of the team part of the North West side, and Dahlia Glennie going on to make the state team, but coach Carmel Woolford isn’t going to Maitland with any preconceptions.

“It’s hard to know what the other teams are like,” she said.

She said at least half of the side went away to the finals last year. Several of them were also in the side that won.

To reach the finals, they have defeated Gunnedah South, Tamworth Public, Nemingha and then, to make the final four, Tacking Point (Port Macquarie).

After winning the toss and electing to bat, Narrabri West compiled 4-155, with Ford retiring for 42 and Glennie making 20.

They then restricted Tacking Point to 6-102.

Narrabri’s stats so far make for impressive reading. In their four games they’ve scored over 500 runs and only lost about six wickets.

Against Tamworth Public, they made something like 0-181.

“That was our best ever score,” Woolford said.

If they can repeat that  in Maitland, it will stand them in good stead.

But while Narrabri West has been there before, Ben Venue hasn’t.

“It’s the first time ever we’ve been in the semi-finals,” coach Albert Hofkamp said.

They secured their spot in the final four with a one-wicket win over Tacking Point last week in what was a remarkable game.

“They batted first and scored 6-112 of their 25 overs,” Hofkamp said.

Ben Venue was then only 41 after 13 overs.

“We still needed 72 in the last 12 overs,” Hofkamp said.

They got that down to four off the last over – thanks largely to a 24-run 18th over – but could only manage three to end up with 112. But they’d only lost five wickets compared to Tacking Point’s six.

Prior to that, they accounted for Armidale City, Guyra, Moree, Tamworth Public and King St Singleton.

The side is a mix of years.

“We’ve got three boys in Year 4, seven in Year 5 and three in Year 6,” Hofkamp said.

He said captain Tao Grieves and vice-captain Tom Smith have led the side well.

“Their batting has been great and their bowling, and that’s flowed onto the rest of the boys,” he said.

“They’ve all pitched in.”

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