Brave NT juniors to improve with age
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.”