JUNIOR CRICKET: Win points to bright future for Lower
NORTH COAST CRICKET: Lower Clarence made history on Sunday when it claimed the North Coast Inter- District Under-14 Cricket title for the first time in 20 years.
The representative side posted 120 before dismantling Nambucca Bellingen for just 77 to win the grand final by 43 runs at Barry Watts Oval in Maclean.
Not since 1998 had Lower Clarence tasted victory in the division.
After being sent into bat, captain and opening batsman Coby Tabor (27) gave (27) Lower Clarence a solid start before Troy Turner (29) was the mainstay in the middle order.
However, coach Craig Moran was worried 120 might not be enough runs.
"Coby was unbelievable and hit them wherever he wanted to, until he tried to hit the first ball after drinks for six and was stumped," Moran said.
"The way we started we should've got 260. I thought 160 might be enough.
"Nambucca Bellingen had three spinners who could all land the ball so our plan was to be controlled against them. But we crumbled under the grand final pressure and they ended up with three stumpings and a run out.
"The boys did not get the silver spoon treatment in the sheds. They got revved and then took all that passion and emotion onto the field and took Nambucca apart."
Thomas Gallagher bowled a tight spell of leg spin to take 3 for 19 off 10 overs, and Tabor 2 for 12 off 5, to help secure the win for Lower Clarence.
"Thomas Gallagher was the linchpin," Moran said.
"He lands his leggies very well and is one to watch."
"Everyone contributed and the umpires said to me after the game they wish adults could play the game the way the kids did. There was passion and direction but most of all everyone was just enjoying themselves."
Lower Clarence had previously won all three of its preliminary round matches to claim the minor premiership and earn hosting rights for the grand final.
Gallagher was a consistent performer throughout the campaign including 4 for 12 off 8.4 overs the last time they played Nambucca Bellingen.
With the bat Tabor reached double figures in all four games including 72 against Coffs Harbour while Turner and Oscar Pilon also made valuable contributions.
"It all started probably three seasons ago with this group of kids," Moran said.
"We all know cricket's dying in the country. A few of us guys within our association are trying to get some passion back in among the juniors in the form of rep cricket and build some mateship.
"As is the case with any Lower Clarence team,There's children from all walks of life in this team; farmers, surfers, die-hard cricketers and people who play because their mates play, but they can all play the game.
"Hopefully in 10 years time this is the next group who come through and start building cricket again."
LOWER CLARENCE v NAMBUCCA BELLINGEN
At Barry Watts Oval, Maclean
Toss: Nambucca Bellingen
Lower Clarence Innings
C Tabor 27
O Pilon 6
C Vallette 14
T Mullins 5
K Watterson 5
T Turner 29
W Moran 7
T Gallagher 1
T Anderson 9
J Johnson not out 4
A Popko 0
FoW: 1-28(Pilon) 2-46(Tabor) 3-60(Vallette) 4-64(Mullins) 5-75(Watterson) 6-96(W Moran) 7-98(Gallgher) 8-109(Anderson) 9-118(Turner) 10-120(Popko)
Bowling: No figures entered into MyCricket
Nambucca Bellingen Innings
Batting card not entered into MyCricket
Bowling: A Popko 5-1-12-1, J Johnson 3-1-5-0, T Mullins 5-2-8-1, K Watterson 2-0-11-0, T Gallagher 10-1-19-3, C Tabor 5-1-12-2, T Turner 3-0-8-1, T McFarlane 1-0-2-0, W Moran 0.5-0-0-1.
Lower Clarence won by 43 runs