Central Coast have claimed the Hughes Lilienthal Shield, for the sixth time, as the champion side at the 2018/19 McDonald’s NSW Country Colts carnival held in Narrabri from 17-20 December.
The victors needed a win in their last match of the Under 18 tournament on Thursday and, results to go their way, to claim the title. A nine-run victory over Newcastle, and a loss for Riverina, meant Central Coast secured the Shield.
The champions finished one point clear of Newcastle. Central Coast last won the NSW Country Colts championships in 2011/12.
The 2018/19 championships were the first to be held without a final and include T20 fixtures. Two matches on the final day were abandoned due to a heavy storm on Wednesday night.
The premiers entered the final round trailing competition leaders Newcastle by three points. The Novocastrians were two points clear of Riverina at the top of the table followed by Central Coast in third.
Central Coast bowled out Newcastle for 164 in defence of 173. Harrison Townsend starred with the ball for the victors. He claimed 5-23 from six overs.
Western zone then did Central Coast the ultimate favour against Riverina.
Riverina was bowled out for 96 in reply to 8/179 posted by Western.
Ultimately, it was a bonus point win for Central Coast over North Coastal in round two that was the difference between the champions and Newcastle.
Townsend finished the tournament as the leading wicket-taker with 15 scalps at an average of just 7.47.
He was one of three players to take five wickets during the four days of the carnival. Jackson Gwynne and Central Northern team mate, Sean Gibson, were the other two bowlers.
Opening the attack for Central Northern, Gwynne claimed 5-24 in a five-wicket win over Western during round one. Gibson returned 5-28 in round two against Newcastle.
North Coastal batsman Oliver Cronin was the leading run-scorer for the tournament. He made 177 runs at 59 including a highest score of 95.
Bowral product Dominic O’Shannessy posted the only century of the Country Colts carnival. The Greater Illawarra bowling allrounder made 107 from 123 balls in a five-wicket loss to Riverina during round two.
His knock included nine fours and two sixes. O’Shannessy finished second on the list of leading run-scorers with 162 runs at 54.
Remarkably, two of the T20 matches on Wednesday finished in ties and went to a super over.
Western were involved in both matches, winning one and, losing the other. It went down to Newcastle in the first of those games and, then later in the day, it defeated Central Coast in the super over.
Cricket NSW would like to thank Narrabri Shire Council and Narrabri District Cricket Association for its organisation of the event.
Thanks to David "Doc" Gavin for the story.