Darling Downs Suns claimed their third Bulls Masters Cricket Youth Cup title in its five-year history, defeating a brave but outclassed Wide Bay Flames in yesterday's final.
Sent in to bat in tough conditions in a rain-shortened match at Salter Oval, Darling Downs overcome the early loss of Paarth Menon to a superb diving catch by Flames’ Matthew Parker off the bowling of Hunter Everard to post 5-141 off 27 overs.
Suns opener Rex Tooley and No. 3 William Nason got their team back on track with a 63-run partnership before the former was run out for 22.
William followed soon after for 35, trapped leg before wicket by Jayden Santacaterina. When Flames captain Jack Geldard struck soon after, the match was in the balance with the Suns at 4-93.
But Suns No.5 Matthew Spanner steadied the ship with 39, combining in a match-defining partnership of 48 runs with Tom Doherty (17 not out), carrying the total to 141 with Hunter picking up his second wicket in the final over.
The Flames’ top order, which has been strong all carnival, then fell cheaply, with firstly a run out, then Suns bowlers Joseph Fry and Regan Liebke striking.
Spinner Matt Butters then tightened the screws with two wickets, before Matthew and Scott Radford chimed in with wickets, leaving only two Wide Bay batsmen posting double figures as the home side finished at 9-85.
Suns were deserving champions after winning all their five games over the four days, but Flames could also hold their heads high after winning each of their three completed round matches with the other washed out.
Rex, who topped the carnival batting statistics with 182 runs at an average of 45.5, was a deserved recipient of the Matthew Hayden Medal for Player of the Carnival.
Suns coach Patrick Nason applauded a magnificent team performance across the tournament, with his team brilliantly led by captain Callum Galvin.
Patrick said the “bulk of the team” had been “pretty much together for four years” and it was sweet to claim a title in their last season of juniors after finishing third at state carnivals for the past two years.
Apart from Rex, Patrick said Callum and Joseph, who have both been chosen in Queensland teams in the past year, also showed their class.
“But everyone contributed – like when we had a last-wicket victory over Gold Coast on Tuesday – they (Reiko Vermeulen and Morgan Bourke) had to get 20 runs in five overs for the last wicket, and if we didn’t get them, we probably would not have been here today,” Patrick said.
“Also, Scott and Tom made their marks in their first state carnivals. They have been on the fringe for a few years, but Scott has been one of our better bowlers – he has been excellent all week.”
Meanwhile, South East Queensland Stormers claimed third place with a 44-run victory over Gold Coast Thunder, with Josh Martin leading the batting charge with 74, and Sahal Khatree finishing on top of the carnival bowling with 12 wickets at 8.08 apiece after taking 3-10.
North Queensland Monsoon finished a disappointing campaign on a high note, winding up fifth with a 23-run dispatch of Mackay-Whitsunday Nitros in which Reece Foley and left arm pacemen Oskar Morrison-Beard were each outstanding with 62 and 4-12 respectively.
Youth Cup scores from Thursday
Final: DARLING DOWNS SUNS 5-141 (Matthew Spanner 39, William Nason 35, Rex Tooley 22, Hunter Everard 5-1-17-2, Jayden Santacaterina 5-0-20-1, Jack Geldard 6-0-37-1) d WIDE BAY FLAMES 9-85 (Harrison Sippel 14, Matt Butters 5-0-13-2, Matthew Spanner 3-0-8-1, Scott Radford 4-0-11-1, Joseph Fry 5-2-10-1, Regan Liebke 5-1-20-1).
Play-offs – Third: SOUTH EAST QUEENSLAND STORMERS 7-163 (Josh Martin 74, Dylan Crees 30, James Guthrig 2-31, Mitchell Parkes 2-32, Reef Webb 2-35) d GOLD COAST THUNDER 9-119 (Rhys Dacey 43, Harrison Ryan 28, Sahal Khatree 3-10, Aum Thanki 3-24, Isaac Hardy 2-11).
Fifth: NORTH QUEENSLAND MONSOON 8-111 (Reece Foley 62, Lachlan Holmes 3-9, Nic Beardmore 2-26) d MACKAY-WHITSUNDAY NITROS 88 (Oskar Morrison-Beard 4-12, Christian Payne 2-10, Bailey Gould 2-16).
Seventh: FAR NORTH FUSION 8-95 (T Lopez 30) d CENTRAL QUEENSLAND SEAMERS 9-89 (Jackson Dingle 25, Brecon Weatherstone 3-16, Chance Riggs 2-11).