Darling Downs survived a few tense moments in the group stages but rode their luck to be crowned the Bulls Masters Youth Cup champions with a dominant win in the Final against the Wide Bay Flames.
It was the first time the event had been hosted by the Bundaberg region and the home team won the toss and sent the Darling Downs Suns in to bat in a rain-shortened final day. It looked like a good decision when Hunter Everald got the early wicket of Paarth Menon to have the Suns at 1-4 but the Suns would fight back through Rex Tooley (22), Will Nason (35) and Matt Spanner (39) to post a strong total of 5/141 in their 27 overs.
The Wide Bay Flames beat Far North Fusion, defending champs, South East Queensland Stormers and then 2018 champions, Mackay/Whitsundays Nitros on their way to their first ever Bulls Masters Youth Cup final. The Suns proved a tougher challenge in the final. Wide Bay lost regular wickets and couldn’t recover to mount a serious challenge, ending on 9/85.
The Darling Downs bowlers were too good with Queensland under 15 quick, Joey Fry impressing with figures of 1-10 off 5 overs and Matt Butters 2-13.
Darling Downs were worthy winners but nearly didn’t make the final after a crazy finish to their match against the Gold Coast Thunder in round three. Chasing the Thunder’s 1st innings total of 9/167, the Suns looked to be cruising at 5/148 with plenty of overs remaining but four quick wickets saw the Suns reeling at 9/150, still needing 18 runs to win. Somehow number 11 batsman, Morgan Bourke got them home with 11 runs.
Darling Downs opening batsman, Rex Tooley was awarded the Dirk Tazelaar medal for player of the tournament. Tooley scored 182 runs to lead all players, at an average of 45.5 and a strike rate of 77.