Highlanders claim Country Cup

Under-15 winning Central Highlands team. (Supplied)

Tara Murray

It might have been a rainy end, but Central Highlands have claimed the inaugural under-15 girls Cricket Victoria Country Cup.

The cup, which is part of a rejigged pathway system, had the best players from the regional areas in Victoria face off against each other.

The Highlanders finished on top of their pool with three wins from four games, to face the Gippsland Pride, in the grand final.

While the game got underway, only 14 overs were played as rain set in. As the highest ranked team after the pool rounds, the Highlanders were awarded the title.

Highlanders coach Jenna Fowlie said it was a bittersweet way to win the title.

“We got out there and managed to get 14 overs,” she said. “I knew we would get a start, it was a matter of how long the rain held out for.

“We didn’t get back out there so it was a bit of an anti climax.

“We are ecstatic to get the win.”

Fowlie said the thought hadn’t even crossed her mind heading into the game that they were the highest ranked team and would be crowned the winner had there been no result.

In the 14 overs they did play, the Highlanders were on top having the Pride in trouble at 4-31.

Tanae Grero had two wickets for the Highlanders.

“We were in a really strong position,” Fowlie said. “Without being arrogant, we had the best batting line up and would have been confident chasing any total down.”

Fowlie said she knew back in September that the group they had was something special and thought they could go pretty far in the tournament.

Among the team were Riddell’s Tess Arthur and Tessa McNair, Ballan’s Sarah Burton and Clover McIIwaine, Bacchus Marsh’s Tanae Grero and Amelia Whiteway, and Malmsbury’s Aaliyah Terbeeke.

Fowlie said the spread of contributors across the board was one of the biggest keys to winning the title.

“Jayda Wright hit a 50 in every game but one,” Fowlie said. “Bridget Stute, her opening partner was really good as well.

“Clover McIlwaine, Tess Arthur, they got a few wickets each. Clover was our top wicket taker with six and we bowled every team out.

“It was an all round performance and players were scoring runs throughout the series.”

For Fowlie, who has been involved in the Highlanders program for 17 years, it’s the first time she’s been part of a winning team.

She said she recalls two other girls teams for the region claiming titles in that time.

Fowlie said it’s pretty special to be part of the group that won the first Country Cup.

“It’s a little disappointing that we didn’t get to play as part of 16 teams [as in the old format], at the same time it is nice to win.

“Our names will be there in the records forever.”