Cricket: Coach encouraged by U-19 results

Will Deerness.
Will Deerness.
Otago coach Will Deerness was pretty satisfied with his side's fourth placing at the under-19 national tournament in Lincoln.

Canterbury was the best team all tournament and won by a comfortable margin when final games were played at the weekend.

Otago let some opportunities slip but also had some fine moments and had four players named in a New Zealand under-19 training squad: bowlers Michael Rae and Jack Hunter and all-rounders Alec Hodgson and Josh Finnie.

''If we had won our last game we were a chance at finishing second, and that was probably a credit to the way everyone performed rather than a couple of individuals,'' Deerness said.

''There were probably a couple of key games where we had points on offer which we did not quite grasp.

''The one-day game against Wellington was one and the other was in the twenty/20 game against Canterbury. If we had won both those games, we probably would have finished a clear second.

''Having said that, I thought the boys played really good cricket at times and they are young. We have seven returning next year.''

Hunter was Otago's second-leading wicket-taker at the tournament with 17 wickets at an average of 20.23. The right-arm medium pacer opened the bowling and was one of the ''standout bowlers at the tournament'', Deerness said.

''[Hunter] is a little bit quicker than you think. He has a really good short ball and he has another year [in the under-19 competition].

''Rae is a big strapping lad. He's tall, he bowls into the wicket and got some really important wickets for us. His economy rate wasn't that low but he certainly nicked off some decent players and that was his role.

''Josh is 16 and a right-arm offspinner. He was brought into the squad after we had a few injuries and was a really good performer for us.

''He bowled really well... and had a couple of opportunities up the batting order and made 67 batting at No 3 for us in our twenty/20 game against Canterbury. He is certainly a kid with a really promising future.''

Hodgson bowled first change and opened the batting in the one-day games. He is a right-arm outswing bowler and another ''player of promise''.