Kara takes lead in CHS triumph
THE North Coast girls cricket team members could be forgiven for feeling overawed when they took the field against four-times CHS champions Sydney South West in the final of the State Championships at Campbelltown.
However, there was nothing but confidence coming from the North Coast camp, including Clarence Valley's Kara Sutherland and Madeleine Richey, as they took to the field to face their southern rivals.
“We knew the game was winnable,” said North Coast coach and Grafton High School teacher Vivienne Nichols.
“We had scored a lot of runs and we hadn't been bowled out in the whole carnival.
“Whereas our opponents (Sydney South West) had been bowled out, so we knew they were vulnerable.”
North Coast's confidence was justified with the squad demolishing the reigning champions by 67 runs in the final, snatching the crown of carnival champion.
North Coast's win was capped off with the announcement captain Kara Sutherland was named Player of the Carnival and highest run scorer. Melissa Norup (Westport High School) was the highest wicket taker.
Sutherland and Norup were also joined by team-mate Georgia Redmayne (Alstonville High School) in the NSWCHS first XI with Tegan Clark (Richmond River High School) named in the second XI.
“Kara was a real leader on the field and the other young girls played their way into NSW selection,” Nichols said.
Batting first, North Coast played cautiously, pushing for runs without losing wickets.
Two wickets down and with only 10 overs remaining, North Coast players took the long handle to the bowling, losing some quick wickets as they built the total to 8/123.
North Coast's bowlers blasted through the Sydney South West batting line-up, taking wicket after wicket, as the defending champions staggered then fell to be all out for 56.
“We bowled sensationally and once they saw a few of their stars lose their wickets they just lost it,” Nichols said.
“We just had to make the most of our opportunity.”
Nichols said the team had performed above expectations, especially considering they had to play Sydney South West in their backyard.
“It was a fantastic effort ... the girls performed so well,” she said.
“Last year we finished seventh but this year we just got it together.”
The NSWCHS squad, coached by Nichols, will play in an All Schools Carnival in March.