AS the summer heats up, NSW country cricket’s prestigious Bradman Cup under 16s competition is under way in Maitland this week with two Shoalhaven juniors in the Southern Zone squad.
Nowra’s Adam Ison and Ulladulla’s Matthew Gilkes are members of the Southern Zone team that has started the competition strongly with two wins in the first two days of the carnival and a narrow loss on Wednesday against Illawarra.
Despite this, Southern still managed to make the final on Thursday against Northern Coastal.
At time of print the result was unavailable, but readers will be updated next week.
The Bradman Cup carnival is a pathway into the NSW country under 17s which ultimately leads to NSW selection for the most promising young cricketers in the state.
With plenty to prove, the Bradman Cup is the first opportunity for country cricketers to show their worth in a bid to further their cricketing careers.
Day one of the carnival saw Southern take on Riverina in what proved to be a strong first up performance by Southern.
Southern chased down 111 in just 26.3 overs to take the win by four wickets.
Gilkes top scored for Southern with 26 while Ison was dismissed early in the innings for just three.
On day two, Southern took on hosts Newcastle and managed another comfortable victory, chasing 120 in just 40 overs to win by eight wickets.
Ison claimed a good double for the day, finishing with 2/15 off 8.1 with the ball and then notched up 44 before being dismissed but making light work of the run chase.
On day three Southern was to chase down Illawarra’s 127, with Ison producing the best figures with the ball after taking 2/9 off eight overs, which included three maiden overs.
Again Ison opened for the team and made 13 runs before dismissal.
Gilkes top scored with 31 runs but unfortunately for Southern their bottom order could not withstand the Illawarra bowlers, with the last wicket falling just four runs short of the win.
Next week will also mark the start of the Kookaburra Cup, the annual under 14s NSW country cricket tournament, this year held in Newcastle.
Shoalhaven boasts five selections in the Southern Zone team which include; Thomas Dolby (Basin), Luke Huard (Norths), Kyle Jarrett (Ulladulla), Kaleb Phillips (Norths) and Cameron Fernie (Nowra).
The carnival kicks off on January 13 with Southern to take on hosts Newcastle in their first match at JR Ron Hill Oval.