A NARROW margin of nine runs separated Horsham from Wimmera-Mallee in their final match at the under-13 Country Week in Portland on Wednesday morning.
Both sides were playing for ninth place, after recording one win each from their first four matches in testing conditions.
Horsham won the toss and sent Wimmera-Mallee in, with the side posting 3-87 off 25 overs, Sam Griffiths retiring on 20 and Tom Letts retiring on 17.
Horsham's Corey Smith was the pick of the bowlers, collecting one wicket from his two maiden overs. In reply, Wimmera-Mallee took a number of early wickets, but Mitch Martin, 18 runs, and Brayden Gebert, 19, played an important role in the middle order, as Horsham secured the win with about two overs to spare.
Wimmera-Mallee bowled out Horsham for 96 in the 25th over, Clayton Jardine claiming 2-5, Koby Westerland 2-6 and Josh Bibby 1-1.
Wimmera-Mallee coach Glenn Westerland said it was a fascinating contest between the two Wimmera representative teams.
"It was an interesting game, and it came down to the second last over," He said.
"It was really anyone's game all the way through."
Westerland said the team, which had a large support base throughout the week, would benefit from the chance to play turf matches.
"We don't get to play on too much turf back home, so it was a great experience for them," he said.
He also highlighted his team's sportsmanship as a highlight, while Tom Letts taking out the team's batting award, Josh Bibby winning the bowling award and Koby Westerland the fielding.
"An umpire said to us yesterday we were one of the best games he's umpired, so we were all pretty proud of that one," he said.
Horsham co-coach John Martin echoed that sentiment, saying the sportmanship from both sides was outstanding.
"Both teams sportsmanship in that final game was just great," Martin said.
With eight of Horsham's 12 players available to play again next year, Martin said its a great sign for the Horsham Cricket Assocaition.
"We bowled extremely well and fielded way above our expectations," he said.
"The boys just gave their all, they participated well and their sportsmanship was unbelievable."
Martin praised the work of fellow coach Murray McKenzie and team manager Simon Gebert, and the parents who helped support the team .