Geraldton youngsters shine at cricket country week in two-wicket win over Albany

Michael RobertsGeraldton Guardian
Geraldton's under-14s are all smiles after winning the country week grand final against Albany.
Camera IconGeraldton's under-14s are all smiles after winning the country week grand final against Albany. Credit: Supplied

Geraldton’s next generation of cricketing stars have come back from Perth champions after a nailbiting win in this year’s under-14a country week grand final.

Chasing 117 for victory against a strong Albany side, Geraldton’s youngsters chased down the total at College Park with just two wickets remaining as lower order batter Ace Maver hit the winning runs.

Geraldton were in deep trouble midway through the run chase, reduced to 5/53 when Zeke Kuser was clean bowled for one in the 27th over by Albany’s Alby Kowald.

But the likes of Adam Bradbury and Nate Mackay remained cool under pressure, nudging singles for the next few overs to get things back on track.

They put on a very important 32-run partnership before Bradbury was caught 14.

There would have been a few nerves running through the Geraldton camp when Mackay was bowled the next over for 17, but a quick fire 20 from Bruce Weston saw them home with more than four overs to spare.

Winning the toss and batting first, Albany had cause for concern early when they lost both their openers in the first five overs of the game.

But a fine innings from number four Buddy Robison (39), which included three 4s and two 6s, got Albany to a competitive total.

Fast bowler Jack Annison was terrific with the ball for Geraldton, taking 2/15 off his seven overs.

Jackson Burns was also very economical, taking 3/7 from his five over spell.

The tournament win came after a slow start for Geraldton, who lost their first two games of country week.

Coach Brad Annison his players were a little sluggish after a long break from cricket over Christmas.

“A lot of them hadn’t done anything in the lead up to Christmas, so it was hard to know how things would go,” he said.

“As it was they were really slow and out of touch for the first day-and-a-half. We struggled.

“We turned it around in the second T20 and had a good win. From that time on they got better.”

Annison praised his team’s fielding performance in the grand final decider.

“Early on in the tournament their fielding was quite poor but they just lifted and turned that around to their credit,” he said.

“We bowled very well and put them under a lot of pressure. They all bowled in the right spots and took all their catches.”

Telling his team the 117 from Albany was very gettable, Annison’s plan was simply to bat out the full 50 overs.

It was tight the whole way,” he said.

“We lost wickets consistently through the game. Our guys in the lower order really stood up and got us across the line in the end.

“The last few guys knuckled down and made some runs.

“For them to stand up when it really counted was brilliant.”

Annison thanked team manager Kyra Ingle for organising the successful week.

“She puts in so much time and effort to make things run smoothly, so a credit to her,” he said.

Geraldton’s under-16a team didn’t experience the same success in this year’s country week, losing four of their five games.

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