The Southern Zone Cricket Under 14 competition took on a “Big Bash” feel on Sunday with rounds 3 and 4 of the competition contested in the format of a double header of T20 matches played at Chevaliar College in Bowral. The day saw the Shoalhaven Under 14s take on the Northern Cavaliers side as well as a match against Far South Coast/Monaro.
In the first match against the Northern Cavaliers, the Shoalhaven lost the toss and bowled first to a Cavs side which included a number of Shoalhaven juniors. Batemans Bay junior Jed Salmon and fellow opener Tom Nolan were keen to get their side off to a good start, but a surprise decision to bowl captain Jack Walsh proved a masterstroke, with the leg-spinner picking up the wicket of Nolan in the second over for 1.
The Cavs batsmen steadied however and looked to re-establish a partnership, but some tight bowling from the Shoalhaven added pressure to the batting side and with overs ticking away, it wasn’t long before more wickets followed. In the tenth over, Jay Ramsden had Josh Corby caught behind for 5 with the score on 16 and then Riley Sims chipped in with the quick wickets of Salmon for 12 and Mitch Dalby for 7.
A late innings cameo by Ex-servo’s junior Kyeden Booth saw the big-hitter smash 5 fours on his way to 24 not out and bring a bit of respectability back to the total. The Cavaliers eventually finishing their 20 overs at 6 for 68. Best of the bowlers was Sims with 2 for 19 as well as one wicket each to Jay Ramsden, Jack Walsh, Christian Page and Luke Jones.
In reply, Shoalhaven were keen to stamp their authority on the run chase and that they did, with openers Drew Ramsden and Lachlan Malcolm powering their side home to make the required runs without the loss of any wickets. Ramsden finished on 34 not out and Malcolm also unbeaten on 26 runs.
In its second match, the Shoalhaven were looking to consolidate their top of the table position, and take on a Far South Coast/Monaro side that narrowly lost to South Coast earlier in the day. After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Shoalhaven were keen to get off to a good start in drizzly conditions. Openers Lachlan Malcom and Drew Ramsden again got their side off to a flyer, moving the score along to 45 from the first 6 overs.
The chase for quick runs stalled temporarily with Malcolm run out for 24 trying to move the score along. The wicket gave the Far South Coast a lift in confidence, however it only brought Shoalhaven number 3 batsman Hyeon Parsons to the crease – the Shoalhaven’s in-form batsman and T20 specialist. Once going, Parsons put on a masterclass, blasting his opponents attack to all parts of the ground hitting a game high 16 fours and 2 sixes.
Ramsden also looked to get in on the action but was caught in the outfield for 28 in the 14th over. Alec Dobson joined Parsons at the crease and played a well thought out supporting role for an unbeaten 8 runs eventually seeing the Shoalhaven through to 2 for 180 from its 20 overs. The star of the show undoubtedly Parsons who finished on 106 not out.
With such a formidable total, the Shoalhaven went into the field with a level of confidence that their opponents would have to play out of their skins to gain victory. After losing opener Tom Walker with the second ball of the innings to Luke Jones, the Far South Coast could be excused for going into their shells and focussing on lasting the 20 overs rather than chasing down the Shoahaven total.
Enter skipper Zac Keogh and after witnessing Hyeon Parsons' heroics at number 3 in the first innings, Keogh set about hitting the boundary and chasing down the runs. Like Parsons, Keogh went to all parts of the ground and there were, at times, some nervous bowlers when he was on strike. Despite being dropped on 86 late in the innings Keogh remained but the Shoalhaven’s total proved a step too far, with Far South Coast finishing its 20 overs at 5 for 157. Keogh, like Parsons, also finishing his innings unbeaten on 100 runs. For the Shoalhaven Luke Jones, Alec Dobson and Jack Walsh each took wickets while Riley Sims and Marley Arthur combined for 2 run outs.
The wins combined to consolidate top spot on the ladder with the final round to be played against Highlands at Hayden Drexel Oval this Sunday commencing at 10.30am.