Weekend of wins as Western Zone dominate all games

WESTERN Zone may have the home ground advantage when they fight for the NSW Country Cricket Championship in a fortnight.

It is 99 per cent certain Orange's Wade Park will host the Country Championship decider between Western Zone and the Northern pool winner, which will be decided this weekend.

Western dominated the Southern pool matches in Wagga Wagga at the weekend winning all three games.

On Friday they secured a 10-run win over Riverina.

They backed it up on Saturday with a 44-run victory over Southern.

It came down to yesterday's last game against Illawarra, the team Western lost last season's Country Championship final to.

Western posted a reasonable 9-183 from their 50 overs with Mudgee's James O'Brien leading the charge with an unbeaten 56.

Illawarra were steady with the bat but Western had them all out for 159 to win by 24 runs.

Western manager David Redden was thrilled to see his team earn a place in the Country final.

"They played brilliantly," Redden said.

"The intensity in the field was fantastic. Just the confidence, the belief and the composure was something to behold."

In Saturday's match against Southern, Orange's Trent Colley (53), Parkes' Pat Rosser (42) and Dubbo's Jordan Moran (32) pushed Western to 175.

Then with the ball, the efforts of Phil Dunford (4-17), Liam Gough (3-22) and Greg Buckley (2-28) helped remove Southern for 131 and give Western the win.

Yesterday's match was a tough one against the defending champions.

O'Brien was the best for Western with Colley (25), Rosser (23) and Jameel Qureshi (20) also chipping in for the 9-183.

Western had Illawarra at 9-117 before the defending champs put up a last-wicket stand.

Western survived the scare and were eventually able to take the 24-run win.

Gough, again, starred with the ball taking 3-23 while Buckley (3-28), Dunford (2-31) and Anthony Heraghty (1-20) also claimed scalps.

Redden has special praise for Orange's Gough.

"The most wickets taken in this three-day carnival before is 12," Redden explained.

"This teenager has taken 10. He has been so brilliant. He is so composed. He is a very good cricketer."

Western will take on the Northern pool winner on Sunday, November 25.

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