HORSHAM was crowned Nhill Junior Under-14s Country Week champions following a nail-biting eight-run win over reigning premiers Portland on Wednesday.
The narrow victory was enough to edge out neighbours Wimmera-Mallee One, which also won both of its matches, on percentage.
A gallant half-century final-wicket stand between Shannon Reddie, 33, and Will Barber, 15, proved to be the difference, getting Horsham to a defendable total of 137. It was a rollercoaster run chase for Portland, with opener Jason Pitt, 19, building a good platform for his side before a middle-order collapse.
Batting at number eight, Ben Atwell punished the Horsham bowlers on his way to 38 retired, but the 10 runs an over required in the final three overs was simply too much.
Liam Atherton, 2-6, and Seb Dalgleish, 2-9, were the pick of Horsham's bowlers, while Will Kerrins, 3-31, was Portland's only multiple wicket-taker.
The stellar wicket-keeping of Horsham's Tom Wentworth, who took two catches and let through minimal byes, was also a highlight.
Coach Mick McGough said he was delighted to come away with the win after mixed results in the under-17s and under-15s last week. "We hadn't had much success in the other country weeks so far, so it was good for the association to get a victory here," he said.
Wimmera-Mallee Two, which had a bye on the final day and had to nervously await the Horsham versus Portland result, also had a memorable week.
The side defeated West Wimmera by 16 runs on Tuesday with a number of players putting in impressive performances.
Corey Dovaston, 3-14, starred with the ball and skipper Isaac McPherson showcased his all-round talents by taking 2-4 off four overs and scoring 18 retired.
In Wednesday's other fixture, Wimmera-Mallee One notched up its first win of the tournament against West Wimmera.
See page 66 for day two and three scores.