A series of crucial lower order partnerships late in the innings ensured Greater Illawarra would deny Riverina a victory on the final day of the Bradman Cup at Lavington Sportsground yesterday.
Greater Illawarra’s 62-run triumph ended Riverina’s hopes of winning the tournament – finishing with three wins and two losses.
After dominating with the ball early, a superb knock of 60 from just 29 balls from Greater Illawarra’s Connor Gray saw his side reach an imposing 9-208 from its 50 overs.
Greater Illawarra was on the back foot at 7-119, before partnerships of 22, 23 and 44 – spearheaded by seven fours and four sixes from Gray, swung the momentum back in their favour.
Damian Wells and Liam Parkinson each grabbed two wickets for Riverina.
Coby Fitzsimmons and Miles Hemann-Petersen got the chase off to a strong start with a 40-run opening stand, before the side quickly lost 4-23, which changed the momentum of the contest.
Joshua Mills dug deep with a gutsy 59 from 88 balls, including eight boundaries, but lacked the support around him with no other batsman reaching double figures.
Gray backed up his stellar batting display with a further 3-31 with the ball as Riverina was dismissed in the 44th over for 146.
Despite the final result, Riverina finished the week second overall.
Coach Sam O’Connor was extremely proud of his side’s efforts and rated the carnival a success.
“We had the momentum the whole first innings and had them 9-140 or so and one lad (Gray) came in a whacked 60 off 29 balls,” O’Connor said.
“We couldn’t quite stop his momentum, he hit the ball really cleanly and they took some momentum into their bowling innings.
“Even after a good start at 0-40, they tightened the screws with a couple of quick wickets and we were behind the game.
“We kept grinding, but every time we put a bit of a partnership together, they would find a way to snag a wicket.
“We put some pretty handy performances together through the week, we just couldn’t quite finish it off at the end.
“We finished second for the carnival, which is a massive effort with the half the side bottom-agers.”
Central Coast defended the title with a 19-run win against North Coastal in the final round.
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