South Coast under 14s claim Southern Zone Championships with thrilling victory

Premiers: South Coast opener Liam Mackrell batting during his side's three-run victory over Shoalhaven on Sunday. Picture: Kim Oakley-Kay.
Premiers: South Coast opener Liam Mackrell batting during his side's three-run victory over Shoalhaven on Sunday. Picture: Kim Oakley-Kay.

The South Coast under 14s have edged out Shoalhaven in a thrilling Southern Zone Championship final.

Batting first, South Coast were bowled out for 178 in 49 overs. Joel Whalan top scored with 47 runs, while Liam Mackrell opened the batting with a steady 43 runs.

Shoalhaven made a steady start to their run chase, with their ability to protect their wickets ensuring the match would go down to the wire. They ultimately fell three runs short in what coach Tim Hore described as an extremely tense finish.

“It was a very good team effort,” Hore said. “There was some fantastic bowling from all of our bowlers and our batters stood up magnificently. They laid a good solid foundation right from the beginning and it followed through all the way down to our tail.

“The last few overs were the most nervous I’ve ever been in my life as a coach, I had jelly legs.

“The kids were ecstatic when they won though. We played those guys in round three and they gave us a touch up, so we came in as the underdogs and as a true underdog we performed well.”

Isaac Kay was the pick of the bowlers, recording figures of 3/29 off ten overs. 

For Hore, the victory was the culmination of a number of months of hard work from all involved.

“The most pleasing aspect for me was the fielding. I’ve always said the team that fields the best will win tournaments. Our fielding has gone from strength to strength. Batting and bowling are individual skills and you can work on them individually. But fielding, as a team it’s the one thing we do so well. We are excellent fielders and there were some brilliant catches taken on Sunday.”

While the under 14s were able to lift the trophy on Sunday afternoon, unfortunately the under 16s fell to Highlands in a low-scoring affair. 

Batting first, South Coast were bowled out for 106 in 40 overs. Despite the low total, the home team didn’t give up and came close to pulling off the victory. Highlands eventually reached the total with just two wickets to spare in the 41st over.