A middle and late order batting collapse has cost the Northern Territory under-17 cricketers a morale boosting win against South Australia in their national championship match in Ballarat.
The Junior Strike lost eight wickets for 41 runs in their run chase after reaching 2-134 in their 50-over match in country Victoria to lose to their traditional rivals by 79 runs.
Territory coach Tony Judd said the loss was a combination of some wayward bowling late in South Australia's innings of 9-254 and the batting collapse.
"It was a procession when we lost those wickets in pursuit of runs, but the positive signs were we started to score more fluently, which I'm happy about,'' he said.
"But the negative side was some wayward bowling in the last 10 overs of their innings and we bowled a lot of wides (27) in a total of 36 extras.
"The pleasing thing is we played cricket in a very good fashion against NSW with the ball on Thursday and against South Australia with the bat early and those are the guides we need to get a win.
''The Strike fought hard with the ball and in the field, including a run of four wickets for 34 runs in the middle of the South Australian innings after a blazing start from their top order bats.
Smart catching and a brilliant stumping of Croweater Harry Willis by wicketkeeper Cadell McMahon from the bowling of leg-spinner Rehaan Sundar were big plusses.
The Territory regrouped when opener Max Menzies (42 from 36 balls) and No.3 Nicholas Fleming (64 from 85 balls) combined for a 98-run second wicket stand. The pair hit 15 boundaries between them and showed what can be done if the batters are prepared to take an aggressive approach against opposition bowlers.
The Strike have a day off before meeting the strong Victorian Metro side on Sunday fresh from big wins over NSW Metro in a thrilling runs chase and the ACT on day one.
South Australia 9-254 (H Schiller 46, B Roberts 31, H Willis 30, M Perera 2/34, A McCormick 2/48) d Northern Territory 175 (N Fleming 64, M Menzies 42, R Shyamsundar 27, L Ranaldo 4-41, H Schiller 2-31) by 79 runs.