The under-16 female Northern Rivers team claimed state championship glory on Sunday.
For player of the match Arnika McGregor it was the second time in as many seasons she had captained a successful representative side after leading the under-14 Rivers to a title last year.
McGregor’s decision to win the toss and bowl first at Box Hill City Oval required a strong showing from herself and her bowling attack — and they delivered in spades.
The Central Park-St Brendan’s product gave her Metro Inner East opponents nothing with the ball, sending down four overs for just five runs to help restrict the side to 3-91 from its 20 overs.
Jerilderie export Mardie Hamilton (0-24) and Puckapunyal’s Madison Albers (1-7) also bowled well, while Karramomus’ Tegbir Kaur backed her teammates up in the field with a decisive run-out.
When Shepparton United’s Lilly Bond was dismissed for a duck to leave the score at 3-20 in the chase though, Rivers needed a partnership.
Again it was McGregor (36 not out from 33 deliveries) who delivered, putting on 36 with Mandurang’s Mia Ward before combining with Hamilton (eight not out) for another 36-run stand to snare victory with 12 balls remaining.
United’s Helena Hosie and Jerilderie’s Lucy Simpson were also involved in the region’s success, while five players — McGregor, Kaur, White Hills duo Letesha Bawden and Breeanna Saffron and Golden Square’s Dakota Rasmussen — backed up their championship-winning efforts from last year with another triumph on Sunday.
The under-14 male Rivers team was also chasing a state championship victory on Sunday, but fell short at the final hurdle.
After winning the toss and claiming first use of the Greenvale Reserve pitch, Rivers compiled a defendable total of 6-151 from the allotted 40 overs.
Tongala’s Mackenzie Cowley made 19 from 35 deliveries, while Rochester Tigers duo Kobyn James (10) and Waugh George (four), Mooroopna’s Josh Robertson (seven) and Euroa’s Fletcher Paul (one not out) also took to the crease, but none could impact the total with authority.
Metro South East Bayside never panicked in the chase, reeling in the required total with two overs to spare and six wickets in hand.
Another Tiger, Austin Reinehr, was the pick of the Rivers bowlers with 2-29, while Cobram’s Hugh Hyde bowled eight tight overs for 15 runs.
George, Cowley and Robertson impressed enough during the tournament to collect higher honours.
The trio will play in a marquee 50-over all-stars match under the Renegades Country banner on February 4.
The side will take on another Country outfit, named after Melbourne Stars, at Footscray Cricket Club.
Along with an adjacent Metro clash, the players will do battle in front of state selectors in an attempt to put their case forward for Victorian representation.