Despite a heartbreaking last-round loss Illawarra remains in fourth-spot on the Watson Shield ladder heading into this Sunday's round five NSW u17 Cricket Youth Championships fixture against South Eastern JCA.
Returning home to play at Keira Oval is sure to boost an Illawarra side which fell agonsingly short of beating Fairfield-Liverpool at Greenway Oval in Hoxton Park.
The visiting Illawarra side opted to bat first but could not take advantage of the firm and dusty ground, posting just 124.
Illawarra openers Finn Warburton (27) and Joel Mikleus (15) were steadfast in seeing off the opening bowlers and reached a respectable 0/50 after 16 overs.
But the game changed when Fairfield-Liverpool's fourth bowler, Samarpal Singh came into the attack. Singh (5/19) took the next four wickets to fall to lead his team's rapid undoing of the Illawarra batting lineup, seeing the visitors slump to 5/53.
Illawarra opening bowler Darcy Norris, batting at No 7, provided the base for a rear guard action with a well made 22 runs, seeing his team post an eventual total of 124.
After the lunch break Illawarra re-took the field determined to defend their modest total.
Early on it looked like they would get the job done after Norris (3/30) and captain Josh Garnero (2/16) combined to clean up four of the top five Fairfield-Liverpool batters, to see the hosts reeling at 4/27.
Sensible batting from the Fairfield-Liverpool middle order then took their chase to 7/101 from 25 overs, with the hosts then needing just 24 runs from the remaining 25 overs.
Illawarra though refused to lie down with extremely tight bowling from Tyler Davidson and off-spinner Finn Warburton saw the next 14 overs produce eight maidens and just 13 runs off the bat.
But only one wicket was taken during this time with the home side's tailenders intelligently soaking up 65 balls and combining for a 14-run partnership to get their side across the line after 41 overs.
Illawarra coach Will Badger was disappointed to lose but praised his team's resilience.
"Our opening batters set up the innings really well, but our batting overall was lacking and we were probably at least 30 runs short of a defendable total on this field," he said.
"Our bowlers threw everything at them, but Fairfield-Liverpool to their credit batted sensibly and were patient right through their innings."
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