Tamworth Blue completed an undefeated Ross Panton Cup campaign with a stirring 47 run win over Armidale in Sunday’s final.
The Blue set the victory up in the second half of the game, with only a few runs separating the two sides at the half-way point.
The under-12 games are split over four innings with each side alternatively facing 20 overs
“They had to work pretty hard. Armidale bowled and fielded well,” Blue co-coach Peter Holmes said.
Charlie Walsh and Chris Fox (17) waded it out to put on 61 for the first wicket and set a strong foundation.
Walsh went on to make 53, his efforts earning him the player of the grand final accolades.
Holmes said his knock really set it up for them.
“It meant we had lots of wickets, which meant we could go hard and take extra risks,” he said.
That paid off, with the Blue building to 8-166 from their second 20 overs and leaving Armidale 95 to chase for victory.
“Eddie Williams came out and got 23, which was very valuable,” Holmes said.
“Harry Lewington also made 23.”
It was a similar story the previous week against Narrabri with the Blue carrying a deficit into their second dig, but turning things around.
“And then the bowling in our second 20 was very strong, particularly Blake Scicluna with three wickets,” Holmes said.
Charlie Whale and Lewington also chimed in with three wickets and Rory Newsome two as they suffocated the Armidale batsmen.
“We’ve been talking to the boys about bowling full and at the stumps and putting the pressure on the batsmen to score,” Holmes said.
He also noted the way they interacted in the field and kept encouraging each other.
“They’ve been good all season,” he said.
“Donny and I were commenting before the amount of improvement they’ve made over the season has been amazing.”
Armidale coach Jerome Sampson expressed similar sentiments about his side.
“All of the kids they’ve grown, they’ve grown a heap,” he said.
“I’m really proud of how the kids performed. We couldn’t ask for any more from them.”
For most it was their first season of representative cricket.
“There were two or three seasoned one’s but most it was their first go at rep cricket,” Sampson said.
“Everyone did what we asked them to.”
It’s first time Armidale has had a presence in the under-12s final for a while and Sampson acknowledged the strength of their opposition.
“Tamworth were just the better team on the day,” he said.
“(But) I think our kids put up a great fight.”
They were certainly right in it at half-way.
“Tamworth really came out and set the pace in the second half,” Sampson said.
Their task was then made all the more difficult by losing wickets early in the second half of their innings.
Clancy McDermott top-scored in their 119 with 25, Micah Lay also chipping in with 21.
Jonathon Phelps (2-29) was the only multiple wicket-taker with the bowlers sharing the spoils around.