Northern Territory batsmen failed to capitalise on a solid bowling and fielding performance against ACT/NSW Country in Round 3 of the male Under 17 Cricket National Championships being played in Mackay.

ACT/NSW Country won the toss and elected to bat at the Harrup Park Complex and they started brightly with their openers sharing in a 52-run stand before medium pacer, Tom Grose, forced the error and Huw Wiltshire gladly accepted the catch behind the stumps. The ACT/NSW top order were aggressive and looked to have the measure of the NT bowling attack until Taj Glenn trapped the dangerous Jayden Zahra-Smith (49) in front; William Pilkington picked up the next wicket while skipper, Banjo Waring and Wiltshire combined to effect a run-out to have the batting side 4-158 after 38 overs.

At the compulsory closure after 50 overs, ACT/NSW Country were 8-248; Blake Smith remained 59 not out. Sam Elder continued his good form with the ball for the NT and finished with an outstanding 2-46 off 15 overs. In the rush toward the end of the ACT/NSW innings, the NT fielders held their nerve and collected two more runouts.

Territory batting mainstay, Tom Kelaart, was unable to maintain his dominant form and fell early. Kelaart’s opening partner, Ethan Anderson, and Waring, added 51 for the second wicket before Anderson was dismissed for a patient 19.  Waring accumulated 35 off 76 balls but again the Territory batting failed impress and were eventually bowled out for 139 – falling 109 runs short.  Off-spinner, Connor Cook, was the chief destroyer, taking 4-44 off 11.1 well-crafted overs.

Territory captain Banjo Waring was pleased with the bowling and fielding but is fully aware that the batting was again an issue.

“We let ourselves down at the end of their innings and the total did not really reflect the way we bowled and fielded” Waring said.

“Sam (Elder) again bowled beautifully and while he is not a big turner of the ball, he continually bowls good areas and all batsmen struggle against him. Our fielding was outstanding – three runouts shows we maintained our vision and Huw (Wiltshire) was great behind the stumps.”

Waring said he struggled to rotate the strike and that may have indirectly led him to playing a false stroke.

“I couldn’t get off the strike often enough and while that is not an excuse, I played a shot against a quick that wasn’t really on,” he said.

“There is not a problem technically with our batting, but it may take a bit of restructuring of the order which will reward the guys batting well.”

Match Scores: ACT/NSW Country 8-248 (Blake Smith 59 n.o.; Sam Elder 2-46) d Northern Territory 10-139 (Banjo Waring 35; Connor Cook 4-44)

Next for the NT is Victoria Metro on Sunday.