Brave NT ju­niors to im­prove with age

NT News - - SPORT - JOSH SPASARO

NORTH­ERN Ter­ri­tory coach Udara Weeras­inghe con­cedes it was a “tough week” for his team at cricket’s Na­tional Un­der-17 Cham­pi­onships in Mackay and Bris­bane.

The NT fin­ished its cam­paign in last spot with eight losses from its eight games.

“It was a tough week, but the pos­i­tive thing is we went down there with a young group, and eight to 10 play­ers can play in this com­pe­ti­tion next year,” Weeras­inghe said.

The Ter­ri­tory’s bats­men strug­gled, the team av­er­ag­ing just 149 runs per game.

“Our col­lec­tive bat­ting wasn’t up to stan­dard, but our bowl­ing and field­ing was good,” Weeras­inghe said.

“The boys’ at­ti­tudes were great – they al­ways kept their heads up.

“And their sports­man­ship was re­warded by win­ning the Spirit of Cricket award.

“They need to learn from this ex­pe­ri­ence so they’re bet­ter next time.”

Waratah young gun Sam El­der stood out at the tour­na­ment, hit­ting scores of 50 notout and 42 against Western Aus­tralia and ACT/NSW Coun­try, re­spec­tively.

“Sammy was our youngest player and our cap­tain, which was a good sign. And he will get bet­ter,” Weeras­inghe said.

“Our bats­men need to score hun­dreds next year, not 60s and 70s. They are ca­pa­ble of do­ing it.”

Night­cliff young­ster Jayllen Na­ganayagam also did well with the bat, mak­ing 58 and 45 against Cricket Aus­tralia XI and South Aus­tralia.

And Adi Dave – a con­sis­tent per­former for NT youth teams – posted 50 against Vic­to­ria Coun­try.

He also took five wick­ets. “I think four of our eight games we were a chance of win­ning,” Weeras­inghe said.

“I’m su­per keen to stay on as coach with Marc Calkin as my as­sis­tant. The boys learnt a lot from the whole ex­pe­ri­ence, and their time at the Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence in Bris­bane.”

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