When the South East Queensland Stormers lost their opening T20 game to the Darling Downs, failing to chase down 99 runs, it seemed their 2019 Youth Cup campaign would unfold the same way it has in the past. The Stormers played off for 7th place last year. Few would have predicted that the Stormers would not lose another game.
In the early stages of the tournament it looked like the usual suspects were on track for another dominant event. Darling Downs, North Queensland, the Gold Coast and Central Queensland all looked strong in the early rounds but with every team losing at least one game by round three, the final was still up for grabs.
Last year’s champions, Mackay/Whitsundays Nitros were having a tough time defending their title but they managed to put a big dint in the Darling Downs Suns hopes of making it to their fourth straight grand final with a stunning win in round four.
North Queensland looked to be on track for the final when they beat the Gold Coast Thunder in their round two T20 game, only for the result to be reversed in the 50 over game the following day, and that meant that the Thunder would ultimately book their spot in the final to play the South East Queensland Stormers who had built nicely since their loss on the opening night of the tournament.
In the final, the Stormers won the toss and sent the Thunder in and it looked like a foolish decision when Gold Coast’s openers, Zane Anderson and Billy Walker got away to a strong start, with 41 runs on the board before Anderson was caught and bowled by Lachie Walker.
Unfortunately that was the beginning of a collapse for the Thunder who slumped to 5 for 75 soon after and eventually limped to 121 all out.
The Stormers run chase was off to a shaky start with openers Doyle and Madden falling cheaply to leave them 2-12. But Lachlan Cumming and Braydon Armstrong steadied the ship. Cumming had a wonderful tournament and when he fell for 35 runs with the score on 70 there was hope for the Thunder.
But Armstrong, who survived a massive appeal for caught behind early in his innings, played the perfect knock to see the Stormers home. He finished on 51 not out and the Stormers were 6 down with four overs left when the winning runs were hit.
Far North Fusion had a poor campaign by their usually lofty standards but they still had something to celebrate when their captain, Finn Churchward won the Matt Hayden award for player of the tournament. Churchward scored 231 runs at 46, with a high score of 97. He also chipped in with four wickets at an average of 24.75.