Australia v England ODIs – U19 Men
Joel, the younger brother of Sydney Thunder star Ollie Davies, has announced himself as a player of the future as he captained NSW Metro to victory in the male U19 National Championships
22 December 2022, 06:30 PM AEST
NSW Metro have avenged their loss to Queensland Metro in last season's U19 National Championships final with a five-wicket victory at Karen Rolton Oval today to be crowned the 2022-23 winners.
The Metro Blues side overcame 10 teams that had converged on Adelaide for a week of high-intensity cricket, with the added incentive for players of a spot in the Australia U19 squad up for grabs with an upcoming multi-format series against England starting in January.
Although batters dominated the tournament, with 16 centuries scored across the 32 games, it was NSW Metro's bowling performance that led them to victory on Thursday, restricting Queensland Metro to 9-159 off their 50 overs.
Wicketkeeper Ryan Hicks (47) – which took his average above 54 for the tournament to go with 16 dismissals – and opener Sam Konstas (45) then guided them home with almost 22 overs to spare.
It is NSW Metro's fourth title since the state split into two teams of country and metropolitan, as they took home what will be called the Rod Marsh Shield from next year onwards.
Marsh, who passed away in March this year, was a former U19 and national cricket academy coach, with the shield set to be a great recognition of his passion for finding the next generation of talent in Australian cricket, following his prolific international career as a player.
NSW Metro allrounder Joel Davies, younger brother of emerging Sydney Thunder power-hitter Ollie, was the star of the championships, with the 19-year-old hitting 458 runs at a stunning average of 114.5 across his six matches.
While he got a golden duck in the decider, Davies passed fifty in each of his other five innings and hit back-to-back centuries in the qualifying and preliminary finals.
His knock against Northern Territory in the quarterfinal was particularly eye-catching, striking eleven sixes on his way to an unbeaten 185, reminiscent of Ollie's double-century against NT that included 17 sixes as captain of NSW Metro four years ago.
Joel, who himself was captain of his side during this campaign, was also a member of the team in April's 2021-22 tournament. The left-arm orthodox bowler also took eight wickets in the 2022-23 edition to round out a stellar carnival.
He was well aided by Ethan Jamieson, another member of the loss to Queensland Metro earlier this year, who struck 270 runs in six games including a brutal 152 off just 135 balls against ACT in round two.
Will Salzmann, Australia's most prolific bowler at the Under 19 World Cup in the West Indies last January with 12 wickets, was another NSW Metro star crucial to the team's win.
Although he didn't bowl during the carnival due to injury, Salzmann showed his capabilities with the bat as well, registering a top score of 96 and hitting a six to bring up the winning runs in Thursday's grand final.
But perhaps the highlight of the tournament was an unbeaten 313-run partnership between Vic Metro pair Harry Dixon (197 not out) and Farzan Chowna (111 not out).
Dixon finished the tournament with 357 runs, second only to Davies, while Chowna rounded out his series with 62 against Vic Country in the third-place play-off to finish with 214 runs in his five innings.
Western Australia's newest batting sensation Teague Wyllie was also on hand, captaining his side and having a typically consistent tournament with the bat.
The Marsh Sheffield Shield centurion from earlier this season compiled 247 runs in his six knocks and passed fifty twice to finish in the top 10 run scorers.
With the ball, it appeared that the slower the pace, the harder it was for batters, with Australia U19 World Cup representative Harkirat Bajwa one of five spinners among the top six wicket takers.
Wyllie's teammate Declan Power was the leading wicket-taker across the championships, finishing with 14 scalps.
The left-arm off-spinner's best output was 4-29 against NT, while he claimed three-wicket hauls on two separate occasions throughout the week.
NSW Metro off-spinner Rafael Macmillan also had a strong carnival with the ball, taking 12 wickets including 3-25 in the final.
Macmillan was a member of the ACT/NSW side that recently took on the West Indies in a tour match and appears to be one to watch in the future.
Victorious NSW Metro coach Anthony Clark and his selectors will now go about picking the national squad in his role as Australia U19 coach.
The squad will take on England in a reciprocal series in 2023, starting on January 29 when Allan Border Field hosts the first of two four-day games.
Three ODIs and one T20I will then be played throughout February, before the Aussies head to England in August for a similar series – likely showcasing a younger squad with an eye to the 2024 U19 World Cup in Sri Lanka.
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Davies dominates as NSW Metro claim U19 title – cricket.com.au
Australia v England ODIs – U19 Men