GUNNEDAH has edged closer hosting a War Veterans Cup final with a resounding win over Armidale at Wolseley Park on Sunday.
Winning the toss and batting first, Gunnedah appeared in early trouble after losing their first wicket with just three runs on the board.
However, the youthful duo of Kaleb McIlveen (22) and Adam McGuirk (32) helped steady the ship.
From there it was down to the experienced pairing of Cameron Milne (45) and Brad Jenkinson (44) to help the side post a formidable 7-197 from its 50 overs.
Gunnedah captain Mitchell Swain said the side’s “good score” was a result of batting in partnerships.
“It was really pleasing to see our guys not just bat well, but bat well together,” Swain said.
“I suppose if there is a couple of things we can improve on it would be maybe, one of those younger guys at the top going on with it and scoring a few more runs.
“As well as that, I really think we could have accelerated in the final overs a bit better than what we did.
“However, we knew anything over 150 would be a competitive score and to finish just shy of 200 left us feeling pretty confident at the break.”
In reply, Armidale struggled for momentum as they lost their first two wickets with just nine runs on the board.
“Things didn’t get much better for the visitors as Gunnedah’s blend of youth and experience in the forms of Hayden Baker (3-32) and Troy Sands (4-23) helped dismiss the side for 106.
“I thought we bowled pretty well throughout,” Swain said.
“I think some of our older guys like Ben Irwin and Farran Lamb bowled well without much reward.
“But I think Hayden and Troy were able to cash in on that tight bowling from the other guys and helped get us there.
“All around it was a pretty fantastic effort I thought.”
Swain said Sunday’s victory put his side “one step closer” to hosting a home final.
“We have got Inverell away next up and we will be doing everything we can to win that one,” he said.
“Like we’ve been saying since the start of the season, we are out to win every game and anything less than making the final will be a failure.”