A solid three days of cricket in Albury for the Murrumbidgee under 14s and under 16s sides have seen them return home as Riverina champions.
The under 14s were able to take the title after going through the three days undefeated while the result for the under 16s was up in the air right until the final ball.
It is the first time in eight seasons that the under 14s side have taking out the Graham Gorrell Cup, and a great all-round performance for Ben Signor saw him finish as the player of the tournament.
“Ben has been in red-hot form as of late,” coach Derek Forner said.
“He led the team really well and performed on all three days. In saying that the rest of the side had pretty good tournaments as well.”
After picking up a 36-run win against Northern Riverina on day one and then following it up with a massive 188-run victory over Southern Riverina, Forner said his side had the belief they could take the tournament outright.
“That was the plan from the outset,” he said.
“We didn’t want it to come down to quotient or anything like that we wanted to take it outright and based of the first two days we thought we could do it.”
A one-wicket win against Cricket Albury Wodonga Country was all they needed to take home the cup.
The formula was not a simple for the under 16s side in their final game against CAW Country if they wanted to pick up the Colston/Scammell Shield for the first time since the 2012/13 season.
At six down and requiring 20 runs for victory coach Jamie Bennett pulled out the calculator to see who would finish on top should the Murrumbidgee side get the runs.
“As it stood at that stage we would win and even when Aditha (Jayasuriya) fell we could still take the trophy,” he said.
“At drinks, I didn’t tell the boys batting (Jock Yelland and Jack Hutchinson) the situation I just said they deserved to be there at the end. The tension got really bad with ten runs to go, and there were a few half chances, but we got there.”
The batting of Kyle Bennett and Oliver Bartter proved crucial with the bat as they guided the Murrumbidgee side out of danger.
“They put on 80 on day one to get us out of a bit of trouble and then backed it up on day two and three,” he said.
With the talent stepping up from the successful under 14s side Bennett feels that the under 16's team is looking strong.
“We only had three top age boys,” he said.
“It’s a bit scary when you think about it. We will have guys like Ben Signor, Bohden Learmonth, Jake Rand and Hayden Forner coming up next year, so spots are going to be hot.
“Even Michael Cudmore, who was unlucky to miss out this time around is constantly improving so it is exciting times for Murrumbidgee and some handy cricketers could just miss out.”