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Northern Rivers teams book semi-final berths

Northern Rivers’ under-14 and under-16 teams will both play off in live semi-finals to win a berth in Victorian Bushrangers State Championships finals next month.

PATRICK O'MEARA January 24, 2013 4:05am

Northern Rivers’ under-14 and under-16 teams will both play off in live semi-finals to win a berth in Victorian Bushrangers State Championships finals next month.

The under-14s meet Mallee Murray Bulls and the under-16s take on Inner East Eagles.

After both finishing top of their pools through preliminary rounds, both teams were strong winners in qualifying finals yesterday.

The under-14s accounted for South East Sharks at Glen Waverley’s Central Reserve.

Batting first, Rivers finished 9-164 after their 40 overs.

Laitham Vandermeer was the star with the bat, knocking a team-high 43, while Cade Mueller continued his consistent carnival with 22 at the top of the order.

In reply, the Sharks were bowled out for 141.

Jack Bouwmeester tore through the Sharks’ batting list, finishing with figures of 5-9 off five overs.

Vandermeer backed up his batting exploits with two wickets, while Mitch Cleeland also bagged two wickets.

In the under-16s, Rivers also batted first and compiled 143 against Gippsland Pride at Glen Waverley’s Central Reserve.

Having lost early wickets, it was left to No.7 Nathan Fitzpatrick (45) and No.8 Layton McCann (32) to ensure a competitive target.

As has been the theme of the week for the under-16s, it was again a stellar bowling performance that got them across the line.

The Pride were bundled out for 135 in 38 overs.

Fitzpatrick backed up his batting efforts with a three-wicket haul, while Kyle Winter-Irving also claimed three wickets.

Rivers region manager Damien Dunlop said it was a great performance from both teams to stay alive in the competition.

‘‘The coaches were always very confident in the players they had, that they could get this far,’’ Dunlop said.

‘‘The under-14s have played really well and the under-16s have bowled and fielded really well.

‘‘The under-16s have made 140 yesterday and 130 the day before, so that is an area they need to improve if they want to make the final, but they have really got great team spirit and that is what has got them through.

‘‘The under-14s, as an outside observer, have got a lot of talented players and they are really playing well together.’’

Dunlop said he hoped both would qualify for the state finals, which will be staged on February 10.

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