COFFS Harbour must be getting sick of the sight of the country kids from down the M1 after Nambucca Valley once again edged the lads from the Big Smoke to claim the North Coast Cricket interdistrict representative title at Macksville on Sunday.
Nambucca piled on 185 runs for the loss of eight wickets from their 50 overs – with Jack Ireland (40) and Brodie Bartlett (38) – leading the way, although captain Josh Bartlett was worried that might not have been enough in the bank to secure victory.
“The wicket played pretty well and I thought if anything we might have been a little below what we should have got after being one for 90 at one stage,” Josh told the Guardian.
But he need not have stressed, as Valley had Coffs staggering in reply at six for 72 at drinks’ break.
“Coffs just lost too many early wickets,” Josh said, as right arm quick Dominic Beaumont tore through the top order on his way to finishing with four for 29 off 9.3 lively overs.
Jack Ireland and Leif Stuart also played pivotal roles from lengthy spells – “they basically strangled them out in that middle session,” Josh said.
Coffs finally put a couple of partnerships together late, but it was never going to be enough as they were back under their shade sail all done for 162.
It was the third straight season that Nambucca had bested Coffs in the grand final, and there could be many more sweet times ahead for the Valley.
“We’ve got a real young team. Andrew Budd is the oldest at 31, and the next oldest is just 24,” said skipper Josh, himself just 20 years of age.
“We’ve got seven or eight guys in our core group and if we can keep them together I can’t see why we can’t enjoy further success for the next five to 10 years.”
With Justin Saker away and unavailable for the grand final, Nambucca blooded two under 16s representatives for the decider – Isaac Jones and Finn Stephens.
“And they held their own in this higher standard and can only benefit from the experience,” Josh said.