A classy win in Bankstown has propelled the Illawarra u17 Watson Shield team to a semi-final showdown with Eastern Suburbs at Trumper Oval this coming Sunday.
Eight teams remained in the hunt to qualify for the finals heading into the last round of the U17 Cricket Youth Championships, with Illawarra securing a regular-season fourth-place finish after beating Bankstown by 136 runs at Bland Oval.
Riley Broadhead, who hammered a quickfire century and impressive spin bowler Harrison Deck, who claimed 5/19 from 10 superb overs highlighted Illawarra's classy win on Sunday.
The home team Bankstown won the toss and elected to bowl.
While the pitch proved a little two-paced with some variable bounce, Illawarra wasted no time building a formidable total.
Blake Cattle firstly racked up another half century (54) before Riley Broadhead (113) followed suit with a beautifully executed century.
The pair combined for a third-wicket partnership of 94 runs. Broadhead piled on the final 40 of his runs at rapid pace in the dying overs to propel the Illawarra total from 8/189 to be all out for 242 in the 47th over.
Broadhead hammered 11 fours and two sixes during his impressive 134-ball knock.
Cattle was just as damaging in his 60-ball innings, smashing five fours and one massive six.
Illawarra's fast bowling cartel of Darcy Norris, Josh Garnero, Tyler Davidson and Logan Jensen went to work after the lunch break, bowling extremely tight lines to see Bankstown under pressure, with the required run-rate pushed close to seven per over by the first drinks break.
Bankstown came out in the second session determined to chase runs but Illawarra spinners Finn Warburton and Harrison Deck had other ideas.
The duo bowled in tandem for 20 overs by which stage Bankstown were reeling at 8/35.
Warburton had 3/4 from his first three overs before Deck took over, claiming the next five wickets to fall.
Deck finished with the impressive figures of 5/19, with his fifth wicket coming on the second last ball of his 10th over.
After sustaining an earlier shoulder injury in the field, 14-year-old Oliver Smith returned to collect the final two wickets from his five overs.
Bankstown could manage just 106 runs in reply.
Illawarra co-coach Mark Johnston was extremely satisfied with the win he said was built on a number of key performances.
"We felt fortunate to be batting first and Riley and Blake ensured we had the scoreboard pressure we wanted," he said.
"The bowling unit held each other up - the quicks didn't get any wickets, but the first session ensured the opposition batters had to attack our bowlers.
"Our three spinners took all 10 wickets and wicket keeper Jack Cattley was faultless behind the stumps, taking four excellent stumpings."
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