The NSW Bush Blues have taken out the Australian Country Championships one day title at Wollongong after finishing the nine day tournament with a comprehensive bonus point victory over T20 champions East Asia Pacific on Wednesday.
NSW Country won the toss and sent the tourists as they searched for a bonus point to wrap up the title.
While opening bowler Cameron Suidgeest took three wickets at the top it was in form all rounder Pat Darwen that was their best with the ball, backing up an unbeaten century on Tuesday with figures of 4-44 from ten overs on Wednesday as EAP were all out for 160 in the 43rd over.
In reply the Bush Blues cruised to victory in the 36th over just three wickets down as opener Jonathan Nicholl carried his bat to finish unbeaten on 55, while Jordan Moran hit 43 and Darwen again performed with an unbeaten 40 to carry the Blues over the line.
Overall it has been a pretty good trip and there is a good bunch of talented blokes coming through the team at the moment.”.
Tamworth skipper and Blues wicket keeper Tom Groth said that while it was a good win to take out the one day title the team were disappointed that they lost to eventual overall winners and traditional rivals Queensland Country on Tuesday.
“Whoever won that game was going to win the championships so it was disappointing,” Groth said.
“We fought hard in the field trying to defend 180 and just fell short.”
“It is great to take away the One Day title though.”
Groth took two leg side stumpings in the last two days, both off openers keeping up to the stumps to the medium pace bowlers and was pleased with his overall performance in a disrupted tournament that saw him have to return home for a funeral as well as losing his bag containing his original Baggy Blue off the back of the bus.
“It is always nice to get a few stumpings keeping up like that,” Groth said.
“I didn’t get many opportunities with the bat but I was happy with my keeping.”
The side, which is this year being coached by former Tamworth skipper and Bush Blue Jeff Cook let themselves down in the short format games in the middle of the tournament, dropping three of the five matches and allowing the consistent Queensland Country to stay with in striking distance on the overall table.
“We had a bad day where we lost two T20 games and let ourselves down a bit,” Groth said.
“We fought hard to keep ourselves in the competition.”
“We lost three games over the tournament by less than ten runs so probably failed to execute and finish those games as well as we could have.”
“Overall it has been a pretty good trip and there is a good bunch of talented blokes coming through the team at the moment.”
“Hopefully we can keep most of them together for next year and give it a good shake in Western Australia.”