Back-to-back losses ended Central North’s hopes of achieving three successive McDonald’s Country Colts cricket titles at under 19 level.
A 13-run loss to Riverina on Friday was followed by a 110-run loss to ACT/Southern the following day, before Sunday’s fixture with North Coastal was washed out in the Dubbo-based carnival.
Central North made a late bid to pursue a target of 228 in the opening fixture, before tallying 220 on Saturday was creditable after ACT/Southern compiled 330 for the loss of five wickets in 50 overs.
As they had done in their opening game, Central North struck early in their second match as skipper Pat Magann bowled Charlie Dummer for a duck. But wickets were hard to come by afterwards, with Blake Macdonald (69) and Tom Engelbrecht (105) adding 113 for the second wicket.
Jye Paterson provided the breakthrough as he bowled Macdonald, and then Ryan Meppem had Ben Taylor stumped by Coby Cornish a run later.
Engelbrecht and Daniel Leerdam (70) wrested back the momentum with a 94-run stand, and then Thomas Vane Tempest scored an unbeaten 60 in a 120-run partnership with Leerdam.
Magann was the pick of the bowlers with 1-14 off six overs while Paterson (1-36), Meppem (1-59) and Lachie Davidson (1-75) chipped in.
Central North coach Terry Browne spoke highly of spinners Meppem and Paterson, saying they bowled very well under pressure.
Meppem then made 55, Tyson Rennie 46 and Paterson 34. He held the latter part of the innings together after Meppem and Rennie had taken them from a precarious 4-55 to 4-161 before they departed as Central North slipped to 7-163.
Despite the closeness in Friday’s result compared with Saturday’s, Browne was happier with the latter performance while being disappointed with the team’s fielding on both days.
The coach deemed that it was a rebuilding year for Central North as a number of players stepped up from last year’s U16s.
“We were pretty pleased with some individual performances,” Browne said.
He said they were “really happy with our last two sessions in the field” on Saturday and were also pleased with their batting on the same day.
Browne noted that ACT/Southern had “a very strong team” with several of its players involved in the Futures League, a level not far below Sheffield Shield standard.