In Round 1 of the 2022 National Under 19 Cricket Championships played at the Great Barrier Reef Arena (Hartrup Park) in Mackay, the Territory was fixtured against Vic Country, and in a tense match, Country managed to hold on and overcome a spirited Territory team to win by one wicket.

Batting first after being sent in by Vic Country, the NT lost an early wicket when opener Jayllen Naganayagam was unlucky to be dismissed by a wayward Vic attack with 22 runs on the board. However, fellow opener Awad Naqvi and number three Banjo Waring combined to further tame the Vic attack and at the halfway mark, the Territory was a steady 1-90. Naqvi (78) finally fell but the enterprising partnership yielded 114 valuable runs for the second wicket.

Skipper Sam Elder fell quickly but Waring (59) and Tom Kelaart (29 off 31 balls) ensured the NT ended at a respectable 5-223 at the completion of their allotted 50 overs.

Team Manager Coen McKinnon said there was a bit in the wicket and his team would probably have bowled but he heaped credit on the batsmen.

“Credit to the batters – they were not overawed and approached the task in a cool, calm and disciplined manner,” said McKinnon.

In its turn to bat, Vic Country openers took a liking to Territory front line bowlers Ellis Sherriff and Jaxon Treumer and they raced to 0-63 after a mere eight overs. However, when medium pacer Charlie Kemp dismissed Buxton (69; 45 balls; 8x4; 4x6) with the score at 99, and he took another soon after which was followed by two each to off spinner Sam Elder and “leggie” Charlie Smith and the Vics were 6-139 after 25 overs. But thanks to a fighting innings of 45 n.o. from number eight Reiley Mark, a composed Victoria tail scrambled to 9-228.

After the game a disappointed Awad Naqvi said his team gave all that it had – he also had belief in his own ability and the role he was given.

“After the start they got when they belted us around a bit and then to take six quick wickets was outstanding by the bowlers and fielders,” Naqvi said.

“My role was essentially to anchor the batting and be there at the end – I didn’t quite make it, but Banjo and I set a platform which hopefully we can build on in future games,

“Our fielding and bowling were excellent – can’t recall any dropped catches and we missed a couple of close runouts which may have been the difference, but in the end, a few more runs would have added to the opposition pressure.”

Match Scores: Vic Country 9-228 (47) (Alexander Buxton 69; Charlie Smith 3-42, Charlie Kemp 2-36, Sam Elder 2-41, Ellis Sherriff 2-48) d Northern Territory 5-223 (Awad Naqvi 78, Banjo Waring 59, Tom Kelaart 29; Joshua Garner 2-42).