Illawarra will look to bounce back to winning ways this Sunday after a tough loss against Sutherland in their last-start NSW u17 Cricket Youth Championships fixture.
The loss at Keira Oval last Sunday means Illawarra head into their round three Watson Shield clash against Eastern Suburbs at Trumper Park in Edgecliff with a one/one win/loss record.
Illawarra triumphed over Blacktown in their opening Watson Shield match but had no answer for the impressive Sutherland in round two.
The Will Badger-coached Illawarra did well however to restrict Sutherland to 7/173 from their 50 overs after the visitors won the toss and elected to bat on a firm, dry outfield.
Having scored a massive 273 runs the previous week, Sutherland showed their intent early looking to take advantage of the fielding restrictions.
But Illawarra bowler Darcy Norris struck early and had Sutherland struggling at 1/20 at one stage.
The home side kept up the pressure through wickets to Oliver Smith and William Muller, which reduced the run-rate in the middle overs.
Sutherland batters who amassed big totals in their first game, were kept from scoring freely and Illawarra went into the lunch break feeling satisfied, having kept the visitors to 7/173 from the 50 overs.
But they struggled almost immediately with the bat, with both Illawarra openers falling within the first two overs, with the scoreboard reading 2/8.
Making his representative cricket debut, Callum Da Costa then paired with Wests team-mate Tyler Davidson to try and steady the ship and see off the new ball. Their partnership of 18 runs from 32 balls proved to be the best of the Illawarra innings.
It wasn't near enough though as Sutherland's opening bowlers devastated the Illawarra top order, which slumped to 7/36 after just 12 overs.
Badger was disappointed but the Illawarra coach wasn't surprised his team struggled.
"This was always going to be a tough week for us with five of our top players out for u16 representative duties, meaning our batting stocks were well down. We also ended up calling in an emergency wicket keeper as Loughlan Jackson busted his finger in the warm-ups and Finn Warburton took the gloves initially, even though suffering a hamstring strain.
"Adam Carlotto (Wests) came to the rescue for us and did a great job having never kept on turf before," he said.
Co-coach Mark Johnston added the team would learn from the experience.
"It was a forgettable scoreline in the end, but a great lesson for many of these boys who have limited batting experience in 50 over matches on turf," he said.
"We're a very strong bowling side and we'll keep working on the batting. We'll be back next week, with the full squad available and are looking forward to playing our first match in Sydney."
Young Oliver Smith (Northern Districts) bowled a very tidy 10 overs of left arm orthodox, then refused to give up his wicket, pairing with William Muller to frustrate the bowlers for an 18-run stand lasting almost 10 overs for the 10th wicket.
Tyler Davidson top scored with 13 runs, while Darcy Norris finished with 2/30 off 7 overs.
The Illawarra team takes on the big-hitting Eastern Suburbs team at Trumper Park in Edgecliff this Sunday.
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