SOUTHERN Zone just missed out on making the final of the Bradman Cup after defeating Riverina and Central Coast in rounds one and three, but going down to Central Northern on the second day of play.
Local cricketers, Adam Ison and Nate Jones did the Shoalhaven proud, with Jones the leading wicket-taker for the team, bowling figures of 3/37, 4/27 and 3/37.
Ison had the daunting task of opening the Southern Zone batting for the first two games, and returned scores of 27 and 18. In his third match, Ison was placed sixth in the batting order, but his skill with the bat was not needed, as his teammates, Jack Preddey (62) and Kieran Gilly (51 n.o), produced the required runs to secure the win.
The final was played between Central Northern and Illawarra on Thursday. Full results from the day’s match will appear in next Wednesday’s South Coast Register.
Even in the scorching heat on Tuesday, the cup was played, with the innings reduced to 30 overs.
In Southern Zone’s game against Central Northern, Southern Zone lost the toss and was sent in to field first.
The first of Central Northern’s batsmen fell cheaply, with Max Houlahan (8), Jayden Park (26) and Matthew Dunn (0) out with 81 runs on the board.
However an unbeatable performance by James Psarakis (110 n.o) lead his team to 9/204 after 30 overs. Despite the heat, Jones claimed 4/27, with Kieran Gilly (3/11) providing strong support.
Going in to bat, Southern Zone’s Ison (18), Mac Wright (26), Darren Mansfield (13), Jack Preddey (46 n.o) and Tim Coenen (52 n.o) showed just how much depth the team had, however fell short of the win by just 26 runs.
In Southern Zone’s third round of competition on Wednesday, Jones once again starred for his team, taking 3/37 against Central Coast.
Moran (2/28), Gilly (1/24), Dylan Palmer-Quigg (1/14), Nathan Hore (2/19) and Wright (1/16) had the Central Coast team all out for 152 runs after 48 overs.
The Southern Zone batsmen managed to chase down this total in 43 overs, thanks to the strong form showed by Preddey (62) and Gilly (51 n.o)
Ison said he was surprised to be opening the batting in the first two games. He originally thought that he would bat third.
“I probably thought that I could have done better, but I was happy. I was playing an age up and the other players were a year older than me so they have got more experience,” he said.
“Overall I think the team did really well.
“There are a couple of things I think we could have done better, but that happens in cricket.
“On the last day we played the best cricket, and I think that shows in the result.”
Jones had a tough time after he suffered from heat stroke on Monday and had to back up with six overs in the scorching heat of Tuesday’s game.
“I had never played in anything like it,” he admitted.
“It was surprising though, because I got through it really well. I wasn’t as fatigued as I thought I would be.”
Jones said Central Northern’s star player, Psarakis, was lucky to survive a few dismissal scares.
“We had two caught and bowled opportunities where he was dropped, and I almost bowled him, which would have made me five for (27 runs). He went for the big swing, as he does, edged it, and it just missed the stumps,” said Jones.
“I was pretty disappointed we didn’t make the finals, but what can you do? I think we did well as a team. Like Adam said, there were a couple of things we could have done better. But I think we were one of the best teams all-round in the competition.”
“The best team we played was on Wednesday (Central Coast). Even though we won the game, they were the best side we played all-round.”