A RUN chase of 163 in 10 overs proved too much for Macquarie Coast Stingers and their quest to play at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The Stingers won one game and lost two of their 20-over contests in Coffs Harbour at the Regional Big Bash on Saturday and Sunday.
Ultimately, it came down to a final-round match against the hosts to determine who would progress to the SCG and Josh Hyde’s men fell 23 runs short.
Overall, it wasn’t a wasted weekend with Hyde even more impressed at the talent of 14-year-old Port Pirates young gun Jared Humphreys.
“I can’t say any higher praise of him as a cricketer after I saw him on the weekend and first-hand had the opportunity to bat with him,” Hyde said.
The teenager made such an impression that it seems a matter of when, not if, he will represent North Coast.
“Jared was the pick of every younger player out there and has probably set himself in stone for a lot of years to come and could even be a future captain,” the captain said.
“North Coast is beckoning for him first and if he does well there, then he makes the Country side and there are a few people out there asking about him already.
Jared was the pick of every younger player out there and has probably set himself in stone for a lot of years to come and could even be a future captain.Macquarie Coast Stingers captain Josh Hyde
“He has all the range of shots and I couldn’t be any prouder to captain a kid like that.
“I haven’t ever had a kid that talented play in my team before.”
The Stingers started their campaign with a seven-wicket loss to Northern Inland Bolters with Humphreys and Tom Burley the standouts.
Humphreys (27) and Burley (28) were both run out as the Stingers compiled 9-102 off their 20 overs before the Bolters chased it down in the 16th over.
They then registered their most impressive performance the next day with a five-wicket win over Northern Rivers Rock.
The Rock eventually progressed to the Sydney Cricket Ground as the best-performed side over the weekend, but it wasn’t before the Stingers notched up an unlikely victory.
Sam Whitbread (4-32) was the pick of the bowlers as the Rock could only manage 123 off their 20 overs before Tom Burley (45) steered the Stingers to a five-wicket victory in the 16th over.
“It was a pretty dominant performance from our boys,” Hyde said.
I think next year or the year after might be the year for our boys – especially after beating Northern Rivers for the first time and beating Tamworth last year.Josh Hyde
The Stingers captain admitted there were some lessons they learnt from playing the three games in two days.
“I’d give us a pass mark for the weekend, but we learnt a hell of a lot more this year playing the three games (on the one weekend) than the one, then one, then one after it.”
“Northern Rivers are a more professional organisation than us so to see about the way they do things .. we need to look at the future like they do.”
Hyde felt the Stingers would have their best opportunity of progressing to the SCG over the next couple of years.
“I think next year or the year after might be the year for our boys – especially after beating Northern Rivers for the first time and beating Tamworth last year,” he said.
“Tamworth are getting on a bit and there was a bit of talk of them not playing next year and Northern Rivers will be the side to beat for the next few years.”