The Horsham Cricket Association have tumbled out of contention in the under-15s Country Week after a tough loss to Colac Black on day three of the tournament.
But coach Simon Hopper remained optimistic about the young side and the development of the players involved in the tournament.
Horsham got off to a terrific start in the contest at Sunnyside Oval, bowling out their opponent for 84 runs in the 43rd over.
After two early wickets Colac Black steadied to reach 2-48. But an Ammaar Khan wicket triggered a collapse as they lost eight wickets for 36 runs.
Brayden Purchase was the pick of the bowlers for Horsham with three wickets, while Khan and Bailey Young both chipped in with two each.
Unfortunately for Horsham their bowling outshined their batting display, as a similar collapse ended their chances of winning the contest and making it into the under-15s final.
Jet Hopper and Lachie Weidemann had Horsham off to a good start, guiding the side to 0-38. But a stunning bowling display and a batting collapse saw them lose their next 10 wickets for just 12 runs, all out for 50 after 18 overs.
Coach Simon Hopper said it was a tough loss to take after being in such a promising position.
“Today just didn’t go well for us,” Hopper said. “They were a really strong bowling team no doubt about that but we didn’t quite apply ourselves.
“We were off to a flier with 30 after six overs. We just needed our top order to get through the next 20 runs and it was game over. But to their credit they bowled really well and held us up.
“We let the chance of playing in the final slip by. It’s disappointing but it’s good learning curve for the boys.”
Hopper said he hoped the young Horsham team could learn from the experience and keep improving.
“A lot of our players have got a year or two left in this age group, so hopefully this year is a bit of a learning curve for next year,” Hopper said.
“That’s what it’s about with juniors is just helping them to keep improving and getting better.”
Despite the disappointing result, Hopper said being competitive and having a chance to win in both matches they lost was a silver lining.
Horsham will play consolidation matches in the final two days of the tournament with the draw set to be released on Wednesday night.
There will be coverage of Wimmera-Mallee’s terrific win against Colac Gold on Thursday.