WESTERN were under immense pressure to pick up a bonus point victory to keep their NSW Country Cricket Colts Championship title hopes alive and thanks to some ballistic knocks from Mac Webster and Anthony Atlee they got maximum points - but came up just short of the crown.
Webster (59 from 47) and Atlee (44 from 24) hit 15 boundaries between them to help Western chase down the total of 193 at George Park 1, set by the previously-unbeaten North Coastal outfit.
The win saw Western finish within 0.3 net run rate of competition leaders ACT Southern Districts.
While naturally disappointed not to take out the title on home turf Western coach Garth Dean said Thursday's final match was a brilliant showcase of the team's talent under pressure.
"It was a great way to finish with that group because that was my last group I had when I was the zone academy coach. It would have been nice to finish off with a [tournament] win with the group but it wasn't quite enough," he said.
"North Coastal had a good leg spinner that played at under 15s nationals but he went for 15 in an over and took himself off. That let us back in there. Anthony got us into it and Mac Webster was just unbelievable.
"Mac has done that sort of thing before. He's got great attributes with both the bat and ball. He has character and he plays fantastic. I felt bad for him because at the time we finished the match we thought that we'd won the carnival.
"But anyhow, it was a great win to finish the carnival."
The toss had been going against Western skipper Tom Coady all week and the cricket gods continued to have their fun on Thursday as the hosts lost their fourth toss in five games.
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North Coastal took the opportunity to bat first and got on an early roll courtesy of their openers Coby Tabor (41) and Jack Wakely (14), who put on 64 together.
George Cumming continued his excellent campaign as he removed Tabor and Troy Turner (9) in quick succession, then broke a 50-run partnership with the wicket of Lachlan Dowling (33).
Angus Parsons kept North Coastal shy of the 200 mark as he claimed a two wickets in the 49th over to also finish with three dismissals.
Webster (1-19 from seven) and Patrick Nelson (1-21 from seven) enjoyed very economical days with the ball.
Just as he did the previous day against Riverina, Western opener Micky McNamara (13) blasted three quick boundaries before departing.
Tom Coady (27) was just beginning to build momentum when a great delivery from spinner Lachlan Carlyle hit his off stump and ended a half century stand between himself and Parkes' Harry Bayliss.
Bayliss (19) was then castled himself in the following over by Cooper Petterson and Koda Sissian (0) quickly departed as well to have Western 4-71.
After the drinks break Atlee blasted Central Northern around the park to take back momentum - only coming undone when he was stumped trying to hit his fifth six.
But Webster went on with the job in a big way as he continued to find the boundary, helping his team chase down the target in the space of 28 overs.
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