Western Zone coach Matt Crawley sees no reason why the local region won’t remain a dominant cricketing force following a third Country Championship title win in five seasons on Sunday.
Western scored a convincing win over Central Coast at Ourimbah to be crowned the best in country NSW, following on from Championship glory in 2012/13 and 2014/15.
“I said a couple of years ago that we were in a position to cement ourselves as one of the strong forces in country cricket and I see no reason to waiver from that statement,” Crawley said after the win.
“We’ve got a really good nucleus of senior players and as long as we keep them involved we’ll be there or thereabouts.”
Former Dubbo all-rounder Tim Berry was named man of the match in the decider after he took 4/18 from 10 overs to hep dismiss Central Coast, who won the toss and batted at home, for just 133.
Jordan Moran then top-scored with 57 as Western Zone reached the total for the loss of just three wickets in the 38th over.
“It’s very satisfying,” Crawley said after seeing his side win last week’s Southern Pool carnival on a countback after losing on day one.
“All the players have hung around after the match and it is deeply satisfying. It’s been a long program with a lot of travel and it’s a big commitment but today we got the reward.”
The coach described his side as “terrific” with the ball and in the field.
Jacob McNaught (3/27) and Matt Stephen (1/23) restricted the hosts to just 2/20 after 10 and Berry’s introduction tightened the screws further, while he also struck at regular intervals.
The hard hitting Lachlan Bell made 48 late on before Western survived a tricky 40 minute period before lunch without losing a wicket.
Moran and captain Nick Berry (43) kept the runs ticking over when they resumed and while they both departed, Mitch Bower (21 not out) was on hand to finish the game with a pair of sixes.
“We got a quick 20 or 30 after lunch and you could sense then they (Central Coast) were just starting to throw the ball around to get a wicket,” Crawley said.
Crawley added his side had done it “the tough way” after losing on day one of last week’s Southern Pool carnival.
But strong wins over Riverina and Illawarra helped Western advance to a fourth Country final in six seasons.
“A lot of sides lose on day one and then their carnival is over but we regrouped,” he said.