Cricket carnival washout dashes final hopes

Illawarra and Southern Zone had their hopes of making the NSW Country Colts final wrecked by rain with the final two days of the carnival washed out.

Both associations won Saturday's opening match of the three-day championships but yesterday's play was called off due to heavy rain and Country Cricket officials declared no play would be possible on today's final day.

The championships featured the eight NSW country cricket associations with Southern seeded three and impressive 72-run winners over Central North on the opening day at Hollymount Park.

Fifth-seeds Illawarra also had a fine four-wicket win over Western Zone (fourth seed) at North Dalton Park.

Had Country Cricket officials elected to press on and try to play the final day today, Illawarra and Southern Zone would have met in the final with both associations seeded higher than yesterday's respective opponents North Coast (eighth) and Newcastle (third) yesterday.

Under carnival rules, the higher seeded team is declared the winner in a washout, but with the third day also called off there is no final.

One consolation for Illawarra is their victory over Western should mean they move to at least the fourth seeds for the 2014 carnival.

Top knocks by Helensburgh brothers Hayden McCrae (67 not out) and Mitchell McCrae (45) ensured Illawarra (6-173) chased down Western's 7-172.

Joe Kershaw (27) top-scored for Western, while Northern Districts' Jed Austin took 2-39 for Illawarra.

Meanwhile, opener Kieran Gray made a fine 89 and with his Oak Flats clubmate Mick Arblaster (34) put on an opening stand of 122 as Southern Zone (6-221) thrashed Central North (149). Lain Beckett took 4-23 for Southern.

In Saturday's two other matches, North Coast beat Central Coast and Newcastle defeated Riverina.

Wollongong hosted the Colts carnival last year, but it was also struck by rain with the opening day washed out.

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