Illawarra falls to Riverina in final Country Championships match

lllawarra captain Adam Berwick has lamented his side’s lack of consistency as they slumped to yet another defeat at the Country Championships on Sunday.

CAUGHT LOOKING: Dean Watson is bowled during Illawarra's loss to ACT Southern on Saturday. Illawarra also fell to Riverina in their Sunday match to bow out of the Country Championships. Picture: Sylvia Liber

CAUGHT LOOKING: Dean Watson is bowled during Illawarra's loss to ACT Southern on Saturday. Illawarra also fell to Riverina in their Sunday match to bow out of the Country Championships. Picture: Sylvia Liber

Facing off against Riverina, Illawarra managed maintain the upper hand for much of the first innings, restricting their opponents to 8/219. However, Illawarra struggled with the bat, with wickets falling at regular intervals, they were ultimately bowled out for 203 off 49.4 overs. 

The loss marks the second straight year that the side has finished the tournament without a win and extends a horror representative run that includes losses in the Regional Bash and Kingsgrove Cup.

“It was a bit disappointing in the end,” Berwick said. “We had a couple of players out, but we had a good team and unfortunately we just weren’t consistent enough at important stages with both bat and ball. 

“At this level it’s important to keep the ball in the right areas over an extended period of time and we weren’t able to do so.”

Berwick acknowledged that the standard of Illawarra cricket isn’t up to that of other country regions, however he feels the gap is shrinking as the quality of the Illawarra competition grows.

“The strength of the competition’s really improved this year. Eight or nine of the ten teams have a genuine opportunity to win the competition. The more exposure the young blokes get to quality bowling, the standard of cricket in Illawarra is going to improve. That’s the only way.”

Berwick was pleased with the way his team improved upon Saturday’s performance against ACT Southern, but lamented their failures with the bat.

“Our bowling was much better, there wasn’t really an identifiable period where we let things go. We stuck with it, and maintained pressure throughout the entire innings.

“However our batting let us down, we were only chasing 220 and we just got ourselves out at bad stages of the game.”

Graeme Batty, 88, top scored with the bat, however he received very little support from his teammates as they fell around him. 

“It’s hard when you lose regular wickets. When you’ve got guys who are making 20 or 25, they need to go on and make a big score. Unfortunately our shot selection at crucial times in the game was questionable.”

Illawarra’s representative season continues next week with a Kingsgrove Cup double header against Sutherland and Sydney at North Dalton Park.

In Sunday’s other match, Central Coast comfortably chased down ACT Southern’s 166 to set up a final at Bradman Oval in Bowral against northern division winners Newcastle.