The inaugural four-day Northern NSW Pathway Challenge is being played in Tamworth this long weekend.
The under-18 component of the tournament features two Central North and two Central Coast sides, while the under-16s feature three North Coast and two Northern Inland sides as well as a Hunter Valley team.
The aim of the tournament was to create an “aligned selection and talent identification pathway”, said Central North Cricket.
The Challenge concludes on Tuesday.
On Saturday in under-16 action, Northern Inland Gold beat Northern Inland Black, Hunter Valley defeated Far North Coast and Mid North Coast downed North Coast.
Batting first at Chaffey Park, Northern Inland Black made 6-106 off 32 overs, with Benji Marshall top-scoring (32).
Zac Craig took 2-30 off seven overs for Northern Inland Gold,
In reply, Gold reached the target in the 29th over with six wickets down – the top-scorer Callum Henry (37).
Pace bowler Joey Mead claimed 2-21 off 5.2 overs.
In under-18 action, Central North Red beat Central North Gold at Riverside 2 on Saturday.
Put into bat, Opener Adam McGuirk top-scored with a 58-ball 59, including two sixes and five fours, as Navy made 4-109 off 20 overs.
Gold reach the target with seven wickets down and with two balls to spare – the top-scorer Liam Rodgers (34 off 37 balls).
Braydon Cameron claimed 3-21 off three overs.
Central North Cricket said the event was also designed to “create purpose and vision for the Regional Academy programs and a clear outcome”.
Another aim is to “create opportunities for more players within the mega region to showcase their skills in games against their direct selection competition”.
Following the conclusion of the Challenge, Central North and North Coast squads will be named for the Kookaburra Cup, Bradman Cup and colts.
Also, State Challenge (mega region) squads will be selected for under-13s and under-14s. A squad for the newly formed under-15s will also be picked.
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