THE Northern District Cricket Association's top under 15 players claimed Junior Country Week success on Thursday, with the association's under 17 side just falling short of making it a clean sweep.
The association hosted competition at various venues from Tuesday to yesterday, with results going the under 15 team's way during the final day of competition at Kerang's Riverside Park.
A 79-run victory against the previously undefeated Sunraysia meant Northern District, Swan Hill District and Sunraysia all finished the three-round competition with two wins and one loss.
However, a far superior percentage - thanks to Northern District's ability to claim 10 wickets in each of its three games - enabled the association to claim the title for the first time since the 2015/16 season.
Sent in to bat, Liam Keath (49) and Bailey Taylor (20) helped the under 15 side recover from being 3/23 - thanks to two wickets from Seamus Keogh - to post 8/166 from its 50 overs.The total proved to be more than enough to defend, with Jasper Wilson-Keir (three wickets), Billy Hawken (two wickets) and Will O'Shea (two wickets) uniting to dismiss Sunraysia for 87 in the 29th over.
The association began its campaign on Tuesday at Riverside Park, falling to Swan Hill District by seven wickets.
Electing to bat first, Jed Brereton (46) was one of two Northern District batsmen to reach double figures as the hosts fell for 118 in the 41st over.
Joe Zambelli was the pick of Swan Hill District's bowlers, claiming four wickets, and was pivotal in helping his side gain the points in the opening round clash.
Zambelli (23) and Lachlan Wright (38) produced a 60-run second-wicket stand, which helped Swan Hill District record an opening round win, with Aydan Symons (38 not out), Gurkeerat Khangura (26) and Matthew King (25) also leading the way as the side scored 201. Brereton and Zeb Ellwood took two wickets each for Northern District.
The side controlled its match against Central Region on Wednesday at Koondrook, winning by six wickets.
Electing to bowl first, Austin Windridge (three wickets) and Billy Hawken (two wickets) led the way with the ball as Central Region fell for 74 in its 50 overs.
Bailey Taylor (47), Hawken (38) and Windridge (23) then dominated with the bat as Northern District finished its 50 overs at 6/155.
So close for under 17s
THE Northern District Cricket Association fell 33 runs shy of claiming the title yesterday at Kerang, going down to Sunraysia in what proved to be the deciding match of the competition.
With both sides going into the match undefeated, Northern District's bowling attack struggled against Sunraysia's opening combination of Patrick Keogh (117) and Lachlan Mitchell (53).
The pair put together a 153-run stand, before Tyson Adamson (58) joined Keogh to produce a 78-run second-wicket partnership.
Northern District was able to eventually restrict Sunraysia to 6/250 off its 50 overs, with Oscar McGraw taking two wickets for the hosts.
The hosts began their run chase in the best way possible, with Matt Thomas (84) and Blake Gelletly (48) combining for a 94-run opening wicket stand.
The loss of Gelletly, as well as two quick wickets to Ryan, left Northern District needing to score at eight runs per over in the final 10 overs to produce a win.
Will Thrum (26) and Patrick Doyle (20) tried valiantly to chase the winning total, but three wickets to Nathan Chamberlain enabled Sunraysia to dismiss the hosts for 217 and produce a third win of the competition.
The host association's side moved into contention for the title with strong performances earlier in the week.
The NDCA began its campaign with a seven-wicket win against Swan Hill District at Koondrook on Tuesday.
Asked to bowl first, Toby Duncan (four wickets) and Declan Hogg (two wickets) dominated with the ball as Northern District dismissed Swan Hill District for 69 in the 33rd over.
Blake Cooke (25) and Matt Thomas (21) ensured Northern District would not struggle to chase down the victory target, with the pair's 45-run opening-wicket stand securing the win.
Late innings hitting from Charlie O'Shea and Oscar McGraw - who both scored 20 runs - helped Northern District reach 8/140 off its 50 overs.
The side faced a tougher challenge on Wednesday against Central Region at Kerang's Riverside Park, producing a 58-run win.
Sent in to bat, a 56-run second-wicket stand between Toby Gray (30) and Matt Thomas (17) enabled the team's middle order - highlighted by the efforts of Patrick Doyle (38) and Liam Jardine (26) - to post 191 in 49.5 overs.
Doyle and Will Thrum - who both took three wickets each - led the way with the ball as Northern District dismissed Central Region for 133 in the 48th over.