Cricket Shepparton rising stars are showcasing their talents across the region for Junior Country Week.
Six representative sides across three age groups are competing for Northern Rivers supremacy, with two of three preliminary rounds completed on Tuesday and yesterday and one remaining today.
Shepparton’s under-17 sides began with losses on Tuesday, but still had strong individual performances.
Cricket Shepparton One could only manage 107 batting first against Bendigo at Murchison Recreation Reserve, with Ethan McLaren’s team-high 21 not out from number 11 a highlight.
Raj Singh (4-18) did his best to defend the small total, but Bendigo amassed the required runs with four wickets remaining.
Cricket Shepparton Two bowled first against Seymour, conceding 8-183 in 45 overs.
Aidan Lloyd (2-30), James Boyer (2-22) and Sam Green (2-30) led the bowling attack from the outset.
It was a spirited chase on Tallarook Recreation Reserve’s pitch, with Sam Coates (43), Andrew Lloyd (29) and Billy Jones (27) hitting the scoreboard hard, but the side was eventually bowled out for 165 for an 18-run defeat.
The pair was pitted against each other yesterday at Murchison, but Two’s decision to bowl first backfired when Jayden Fitzgerald (44 from 51) led the top team to a total of 202.
Boyer top-scored for Two with 18, but his side could not withstand the onslaught from Dylan Rowney (3-7) and Sean McAllister (3-20) and were eventually rolled for 81.
One plays Murray Valley today and needs a big win to have any chance at finals action, while Two can help its Cricket Shepparton mates with a win against Goulburn Murray.
●Jaxon Thomas top-scored for Cricket Shepparton One in the first round of the under-15 division, making 19 out of his side’s 91.
It proved nowhere near enough to defeat Bendigo at Mooroopna Recreation Reserve, but Patrick Cormican’s 3-28 impressed those in attendance.
Cricket Shepparton Two had to wait until yesterday for its first crack after having a bye in round one, taking on One at Mooroopna.
The higher-ranked side won the toss and batted first, posting a defendable — but not unassailable — 134.
Two could not engineer a victory though, and was bowled out for 91.
One will need to defeat Murray Valley today to have any chance of playing in the final, while Two faces Goulburn Murray.
●Cricket Shepparton managed a first-up victory in the under-13A competition, defeating Bendigo at Howley Oval.
Riley Moon (2-10) and Jai Bailey (2-13) were crucial to keeping their opponent’s score to 7-100 from 40 overs.
Ryan Hill led the chase superbly, engineering a score of 40 retired with just two boundaries to help his team claim a three-wicket win with more than four overs to spare.
Yesterday’s action again had the team playing in Tatura, and the result was much the same.
The locals bowled Murray Valley out for just 60 before managing 2-103 in 40 overs.
The pair of victories has put the side in the box seat to appear in tomorrow’s decider, but a win over Goulburn Murray today would seal the deal.
The under-13B team’s campaign is already over after two matches, with no finals held and a bye scheduled in today’s last round.
It was a fine introduction to representative cricket for many of the young talents though, with great performances in both matches.
On Tuesday the side travelled to Seymour and defeated the host association by 146 runs.
Xavier Schmedje, Mason Reeves and Declan Newbound all entered the 40s and retired as Cricket Shepparton amassed 4-179 in 40 overs before the side put together an amazing bowling innings.
Despite sending down 36.3 overs, the away team skittled Seymour for just 33 runs.
Astoundingly, half (18) of the completed overs were maidens, with Isaac Cox’s 4-6 from five overs the standout.
The youngest local contingent also snared victory in the second game, restricting Murray Valley to 9-66 before making 87.