Fairytale for North Coast
By TONY WHITE
FOUR Grafton girls ? Angela Payne, Kara Sutherland, Leah Macdonald and Amanda Whitby ? are the toast of junior girls cricket after playing in the winning North Coast Youth team that won the Cricket NSW Women's Country Championships at Maitland.
And the quartet were highly commended by Youth team coach Brett Rankin, for their outstanding contributions.
"I'd like to highlight the four girls' performances," North Coast Cricket Officer Rankin said.
"They (Grafton) were instrumental in our success.
"Kara had a very good tournament with the bat and came good late with the ball.
"Angela did a fantastic all round job and Leah was probably the unluckiest player at the tournament.
"Opening the bowling she always managed to put pressure on the opening batsman and that allowed us to set good attacking fields. She was instrumental in us winning.
"And Amanda was the quiet achiever. She's quiet by nature, but came into her own during the tournament. This was her first big tournament. She's a player of the future and I'm sure will be a big improver.
"It augurs well for cricket in Grafton especially with so many other younger players coming through the ranks."
In one of the great sporting turnarounds, the current youth team (Under-19s) improved from last in last year's tournament to go through undefeated in five, 33-over games eventually defeating South Coast in the final.
Randall had set the team a goal of winning two matches.
"They shocked everybody including their coach. It was an outstanding performance," Rankin said.
Payne, 14, opened the Youth team batting and bowled. Macdonald, 14, opened the bowling and batted. Sutherland, 14 and Whitby, 16, batted and bowled.
Scores in the Youth were:
Game 1: Hunter Invitational 10/72, North Coast 7/74. K Sutherland18 no.
Game 2: Central Coast 9/109, North Coast 1/132. A Payne 41no.
Game 3: Riverina 9/73, North Coast 2/74. K Sutherland 21no.
Semi Final: Hunter 10/77, North Coast 2/106. K Sutherland 31no.
Final: South Coast 9/76, North Coast 4/77. K Sutherland 16no.
Three girls from North Coast team, including Sutherland, were selected for the NSW Country Under-15 team to play City Under-15 team in Mudgee on November 5 and 6.
A NSW team will then be selected to play in the National Championships in December in Melbourne.
Grafton's Nicole Morgan, 17, played wicket keeper in the North Coast Open team that finished fifth in its division.
North Coast defeated Hunter in the final game.
The tournament also afforded Morgan the chance to experience playing with and against current Breakers players (the fe- male equivalent of the NSW Blues).