The U14s carnival in Tamworth is wide open after day two as two sides remain unbeaten while four more head into day three with a win and a loss.
Hosts Tamworth Blue is one of those four sides in the chase pack behind the unbeaten Hawkesbury and West Pennant Hills Cherrybrook after a batting collapse saw them fall just nine runs short of victory against Nambucca Bellingen at Riverside 2 on Tuesday.
Bowling first the Tamworth opening pair of Will Burnett and Joey Ryan pounced on some early wickets as they both headed for three wicket hauls, while the other wickets were shared around.
Leg Spinner Jayden Betts returned good figures of 1-12 from six overs while pace bowler Jess Davidson was miserly, giving away just six runs from her four overs as the visitors were bowled out for 100 with a few overs remaining.
Coach Bede Maher was impressed with his sides bowling and fielding, although said that Nambucca Bellingen were equally up to the task.
“Everyone that was asked to perform did,” Maher said.
“We bowled perfect line and length and the balls that were full on the stumps were getting the wickets.”
“But cricket is a funny game and they (Nambucca) put the ball on patches that worked – some jagged away or got some seam and they put good pressure on our batsmen.”
Tamworth struggled to get any partnerships going as opener Luke Maher top scored with 11, while Brayden Reid (10) was the only other to reach double figures as they crashed out in the 36th over for 92.
“It was a tough game and a tough loss but we will keep our heads high,” Maher said.
“Tomorrow is a new game against a new opposition.”
Tamworth will meet Hawkesbury on Thursday at Riverside 1 after the Sydneysiders made short work of defending champions Manly at Chaffey Park.
Batting first Hawkesbury recovered from two early wickets to post a big score of 192 as first drop Archie Peters played a great innings to finish with 92, while Liam Beirne (55) joined him at the crease for a 60 run stand to set up the total.
In reply Manly were rolled for just 56 as their premiership defence looks to be in tatters heading into another tough match-up against Nambucca on Thursday at Riverside 5.
Armidale kept their title chances alive with their first win for the week after they chased down Lismore’s 9-168 on the Riverside 5 wicket.
Lismore’s Sam McLean knocked 62 and Beau Donnelly added 38 as they posted the big total, while Armidale opener Darcy McDermott was the best of the bowlers taking 2-23.
In reply Armidale first drop and man of the match Sam Johnson came in during the fifth over and was still there 40 overs later as he posted an unbeaten 59 for the New Englanders to claim a good win.
At Riverside 1 the combined Peel River Renegades were facing West Pennant Hills Cherrybrook in a good match that came right down to the wire.
Batting first the Renegades posted a respectable 7-144 with Jack Hamilton carrying on his streak of good form with a knock of 47 while Landan Price added some value in the final overs with an unbeaten 19, although it wasn’t quite enough as Luc white and Alastair Faulkner put on a big partnership to boost WPHC over the line.
WPHC coach Rob Hanich was over the moon with the results, especially as the side is the only club team in the competition while the rest are made up of district representative players.
“Being two from two at this stage as a club side is a little unexpected – It’s great,” Hanich said.
“That partnership between Luc (White) and Alastair (Faulkner) made the difference in the end.”
While the Renegades will meet Armidale in a local derby at Riverside 2 on Thursday, the WPHC side will be looking to keep their perfect record intact when they face Lismore at Chafey Park, although the coach said that the club makes this trip every year for much more than just the cricket.
“We love coming to Tamworth for the carnival every year,” Hanich said.
“We come here to have a great time and the boys love spending some time away with each other.”
“The carnival is always run really well and to get another win makes it even better.”
Another bonus for the visiting side and many of the other sides is the chance to play on turf wickets, an opportunity that rarely comes their way in the Sydney competition.
“Playing on turf is playing real cricket,” Hanich said.
“Mopre than half of them have never played on turf before so it makes it very special to come here and have a go.”
“They get turn and seam and they just love it.”
The five day carnival will see the last round of pool game splayed on Thursday before the finals and play-off games go ahead on Friday as the carnival wraps up with a winners presentation at the Butch Southwell Cricket House following the final match.
Thursday night will also see all sides attend a BBQ at thew clubhouse where awards will be handed out to the top run scorers and wicket takers from the round matches.