A sensational four over burst from Inverell's Rohan Guest provided one of the highlights of the Northern Inland under-14s' NSW Youth Championships campaign in Grafton last week.
Introduced this season, the championships are designed to streamline the Cricket NSW pathway for underage players and are being played across three divisions - under-13s, under-14s and under-15s.
Playing in the Sixers conference, Northern Inland, which featured Guyra's Brodi Campbell as vice-captain along with Jack Lockyer, finished with two wins from their five games, with another two rounds to play on October 27 and November 10.
Guest's 6-7 helped Northern Inland dismiss Lake Macquarie in the final over for 78. That was in reply to 7-89.
Northern Inland's second game pitted them against pool leaders Hunter Valley. After winning the toss and electing to bat, they posted 6-112 with Harry Lewington hitting 37 and Ryan Campbell 27.
Unfortunately it wasn't quite enough with Hunter passing the total in the 18th over three wickets down.
Lewington led the charge in their opening game on day two with 4-19 as they restricted Central Coast to 9-100. Spinks (33no) and Sam Holmes (20no) then guided them to a three wicket victory in the 19th over.
Northern Inland scrambled their way to 9-87 in their second game against Newcastle.
Newcastle needed only 17 overs to chase the runs.
Facing Far North Coast in their final game, Northern Inland made 6-117 from their 20 overs.
The run chase went down to the wire with the coastal side reaching the victory target with only two balls to spare.
The under-15s started their campaign on Wednesday, following the under-14s.
Armidale was represented by Brock Parsons and Ben Harris as the Northern Inland under-15s as they began their campaign with three wins.
Ben Livingstone and Ed Mongtomery led from the front for the Northern Inland under-15s.
The pair, who served as the sides captain (Livingstone) and vice-captain (Montgomery) at Grafton were their two leading runscorers and both hit unbeaten half-centuries.
Livingstone struck 55no in their final round win over Far North Coast. He also scored 31 in their first-up loss to Lake Macquarie, who were undefeated to lead the Sixers Pool with two rounds to play (October 27 and November 10).
Montgomery just shaded him by three runs for Northern Inland's highest scorer for the carnival. His best was a swashbuckling 52no off only 29 balls as they chased down Newcastle's 8-78 inside 12 overs.
He also hit 16no and 24 and was prominent with the ball snaring 3-40 and 1-19.
"That was good from the leadership group," coach Mitch Woods said reflecting on Livingstone and Mongtomery's efforts.
Not really noted as a bowler, he "performed very well" bowling his nude spin, picking up four wickets with a best return of 2-18.
Charlie Henderson and Ben Chick also made notable contributions with the bat.
Chick hit 35 and with Livingstone put on 56 for the second wicket against Lake Macquarie while Charlie Henderson made an unbeaten 43 in the loss to Central Coast.
With the ball Brock Parsons snared 3-17 as Northern Inland dismissed Hunter Valley for 96 while Henry Johns nabbed 3-15 against Newcastle.
They did suffer a bit of an early injury set-back with quick Sam Anderson reinjuring his knee in the first game on the second day whilst fielding, which Woods said "changed a few plans".
He was overall pleased with how the side performed.
They went quite well," he said.
Their biggest issue was they were, bar the Newcastle game, "very slow starters" with the bat in their Twenty20s. But aside from Central Coast, who Woods thought were "head and shoulders the best side we faced" they were competitive in every game.
Lake Macquarie only chased down their 7-101 with five balls to spare.
"It was just our slow start - we didn't post enough runs," Woods lamented.
That will be something to work on for the next games - setting totals and being a bit more aggressive.