Cricket: North Coast under-18 girls side claimed its fifth-straight country championship

Champions: North Coast under-18 side won the zone's fifth-straight title at Raymond Terrace on October 6.

Champions: North Coast under-18 side won the zone's fifth-straight title at Raymond Terrace on October 6.

NORTH Coast claimed its fifth-straight under-18 Country Championship zone title at Raymond Terrace with a two-run win over Illawarra on October 6.

With the South Coast team requiring just six runs off the final over, North Coast held its nerve with the ball to hand Kate Jackson her third-straight championship as coach.

Port Macquarie’s Keisha Dowsett and Jessica Olsen played their part in the team’s success.

“Jess took six wickets for the carnival and Kesh had a good game behind the stumps in our last-round match against Central North which put us into the final,” Jackson said.

Jackson admitted it was difficult to compare the previous two championship wins.

“It’s different every year, but we have a great culture with the girls and the country championships are what you do all your training for,” she said.

“It also gives me a good opportunity to test my coaching ability.”

North Coast proved the masters of the close finish throughout the competition, with three of their four games decided in the final over.

“It was a really closely contested competition which reflects the growth of women’s cricket,” Jackson said.

“As a coach you definitely age.”

Matilda Lugg provided the backbone of North Coast’s total of 90 in the final when she topscored with 49.

Jackson, however, was always confident in her team’s ability to close out the match despite Illawarra having wickets in hand and just six runs to win.

“It’s all very tactical and I backed our girls with the close finish,” she said.

North Coast’s under-15 side finished third in an impressive competition.

A total of 10 players from the Hastings were selected across the under-15 and under-18 teams, with six picked for the national titles.

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