Deni Rhinos pace bowler Dylan Rotherham helped steer the Murray Valley Cricket Association’s Under 17s side to a Country Northern Rivers Junior Country Week win.
The 15 year-old had figures of 2/8 off six overs in the MVCA’s 90 run victory over Goulburn Murray in the decider played at Weeroona Oval in Bendigo on Friday.
The MVCA side went into the clash having won two of its previous three games, suffering a 10 run loss on day one against Goulburn Murray.
MVCA were on their knees early in the decider, falling to 3/8 before an innings saving knock from Lewis McShane (64) and Riley Gow (51).
Rotherham saw out the innings late finishing with an unbeaten four runs, the MVCA finishing all out for 157 after 48.2 overs.
In their run defence, MVCA came charging out of the gates, claiming the first five wickets for just 16 runs.
A strong showing from Goulburn Murray’s tail end kept them in the game, but the damage was already done with the innings ending at 67 all out after 31 overs, with Gow leading the charge with figures of 4/21 off 10.
Rotherham said the win in the grand final was a massive shock.
‘‘After falling to 3/8 we definitely didn’t expect to have a win,’’ Rotherham said.
‘‘To claw back from that position and beat the only side to knock us off during the comp was huge.
‘‘I played with a similar group in the Under 16s comp at Country Week last year as well.
‘‘We went down in the decider last year, so it was good to get over the line on Friday.’’
The Murray Valley Under 17 team’s week started with the loss to Goulburn Murray by 10 runs on Tuesday, with Rotherham impressive, taking 1/9 from his six overs, including two maidens.
The Rhinos opener continued his good form the following day, taking 2/13 off 8.1 overs in MVCA’s seven wicket win over Seymour District.
On Thursday the MVCA defeated Cricket Shepparton by 34 runs to make it into the final, with Rotherham finishing with figures of 0/17 off five.
‘‘It was definitely a good week for me,’’ he said.
‘‘It was nice to have a good start myself, but that loss had us worried.
‘‘The first game was pretty strange where we gave away over 20 extras and then they gave us over 30.
‘‘In the final they gave another 20 extras to us but we bowled much better and barely gave away any.’’
Rotherham has had an impressive season with the ball, solidifying his spot in the Rhinos Premier Division side that currently is third on the ladder.
The young gun has played a crucial role as an opening bowler, claiming 14 wickets so far from his 10 matches, with his best game coming against Katamatite in round six, with figures of 3/14 off four.
‘‘I’m so thankful for the opportunity I’ve been given at the Rhinos,’’ he said.
‘‘There hasn’t been a lot of options for my cricket as a junior so to be able to play Premier Division cricket has been great.
‘‘I’ve been pretty lucky that we’re playing well as a team and are in a good position to play finals.
‘‘I love playing at a higher level; it’s been unreal.’’
The Deni Rhinos’ will return to the field for day one of its two-day clash against Cobram following the Christmas break on Saturday.