In its final match of the of the male Under 17 Cricket National Championships played in Mackay, NT was pitted against a Cricket Australia XI. The CA XI is made up of identified (Under 17) players from around the nation and is coached and managed by former Australian Cricket representatives: Chris Rogers and Ryan Harris.
After winning the toss, Territory skipper, Banjo Waring, chose to bowl first on the now familiar Harrup Park 5 – Roy Trevaskis Oval. Thanks to a wicket each to Tom Grose and Ryan Harvey, the decision to bowl looked on track early when both CA XI openers were back in the pavilion with only 14 runs on the board. Despite a run-out and a wicket to medium pacer, Lachlan Dumigan, the batting side recovered and at the halfway mark were 4-120 with lefthander, Joel Davies, 51 not out.
In the meantime, Sam Elder, was wheeling down his off-spinners with the usual efficiency and in quick succession got rid of dangerous pair, Davies (65) and Thomas Balkin (35), which gave the Territory some breathing space. However, a rear-guard batting display by the CA XI tail, saw them scramble to 9-234 at the compulsory closure after 50 overs.
Jayllen Naganayagam (24) and Ethan Anderson (22) again opened the innings for NT and while they were aggressive, neither was able to capitalise on their promising start. At 5-84, the Territory were in a spot of bother, but Waring and Harshtik Bimbral came together a calmly batted their team back into the contest. The pair put of 73 for the 6th wicket before Bimbral was bowled for 36. Waring did all he could, batting with the tail the Territory fell agonisingly short – losing by 14 runs. The skipper was stranded on 63 as the NT was held to 8-220 after 50 overs.
Jayllen Naganayagam made the journey to Darwin from Sydney on a weekly basis to play in the Top End competition and his form at the Championship was outstanding playing for his adopted team.
“It came down to the wire today and it’s so disappointing we didn’t get another win,” he said after the game.
“We bowled today after winning the toss because it was overcast and conditions looked helpful - getting early wickets was our plan which we did. But their middle order held us up and they scored a few too many.
“But we are all aware now that we have the talent to mix it with the very best – it’s just a pity we didn’t have that belief earlier in the Championship.”
Match Scores: Cricket Australia XI: 9-234 (Joel Davies 65; Sam Elder 3-53 (15 overs)) d Northern Territory: 8-220 (Banjo Waring 63 n.o.; Luke Holt 4-49).