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Western beats Riverina in Colts Country Championship, Cooper Brien falls just shy of century

COOPER Brien has continued his top notch batting form at the NSW Country Colts Championship on his home Bathurst turf, hitting 96 to help Western achieve a seven wicket win over Riverina on Wednesday.

Western successfully chased down Riverina's score of 220 in the 48th to record their third straight win at the under 18s tournament.

Parkes' Harry Bayliss made a solid contribution to the win, striking 25 opening up the batting while taking 1/22 off five overs with the ball.

Brien mistimed an attempted shot over mid wicket to leave Western still with some work to do at 7-195 but an unbeaten partnership for the eighth wicket from Angus Parsons (22) and George Cumming (12) finished the job.

The performance from Brien adds to his other strong scores of 60 and 44 not out earlier in the tournament.

"Anything that's got width or is off length Cooper is on to it straight away. Those couple of big sixes he hit today were just fractionally short but he was on to it immediately," Western coach Garth Dean said.

"He's a great batsman to watch because he's got so much time and can hit it anywhere. I said to him that the most disappointing thing about him getting out was that I didn't get to see him bat for another 20 minutes.

"It was great to see George and Angus finish it off for us. That shows experience playing in that sort of situation and knowing what you have to do there.

"Riverina were pretty desperate since they hadn't won any games, but they're a very good side. That's how even the competition is."

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After three straight games at George Park 1 the Western squad made their way to Morse Park 2 for the Wednesday match.

It was quickly evident that bowlers were going to have to toil away for results on the different deck.

"There were different conditions. It was pretty favourable for the batting team. The wind was howling from the east across the pitch to the short boundary so that made that area difficult to defend," Dean said.

"Riverina actually defended that better than we did, and I think that's because they took a lot away from our bowling innings and they set better fields than we did for the conditions."

Riverina won the toss and were keen to have a bat, and it looked like a nice decision following composed starts from Harry Kreutzberger (9) and Kaiden Withers (32).

Kreutzberger's stumping off the bowling brought Jake Scott to the crease and the Western bowlers didn't seem to have an answer for him.

Scott feasted on Western's spin attack and later into his innings of 81 he started to find boundaries against pace, until he came undone on the bowling of Jacob Ryan.

His shot into the hands of Anthony Atlee would form part of a lower order collapse from Riverina.

Riverina lost their last five wickets for just 20 runs and still had more than six overs of batting left in the innings.

Hayden Forner (25) was the next best of the Riverina batsmen, while Ryan (2-28) and Mac Webster (2-41, plus a run out) each claimed two wickets.

Micky McNamara (13) played some excellent early cut short boundaries before his innings ended, while Harry Bayliss (25) patiently chipped away.

Tom Coady's (3) departure brought Brien to the crease at 2-25.

Brien's innings could have been cut short on several occasions.

When he was on four he edged a shot between the wicketkeeper and first slip and when he was 69 he was dropped at mid off.

Brien was a continual danger with anything well wide of off stump, utilising a strong hitting game through backward point.

He and Atlee (19) put on a 60 run partnership together to steer the momentum in Western's favour.

However, behind point would end up being the region of the field that would prove Brien's undoing, as he was caught there by Scott off the bowling of Fergus Cattanach.

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