Central Highlands girls miss out on finals

THE CENTRAL Highlands under-18 girls were knocked from finals position after being defeated yesterday in the state today.

Northern Rivers scored 6-173 and the Highlanders were all out for 87 during the last match of the tournament at Plenty Valley.

The team was chasing the Northern Rivers high score and didn't secure a batting partnership to get them over the line.

Coach Nicole Martin said it was disappointing to finish the carnival on a loss, but the girls had performed really well.

"The opposition just played really well," Martin said.

"A few of our girls got out early on, and we just didn't have a batting partnership. There was a lot of pressure on the middle order."

One Northern Rivers player, J Crockett-Grills, scored 109 runs making the Highlanders job tough all day, but was caught out with Jenna Bruton bowling 3-39.

If the Highlanders won today, they would have gone on to play in the finals at the MCG in February.

"It's not great when you just miss out on finals - we finished about third and only the top two go through," Martin said.

This was the team's only loss for the competition, winning both their Twenty20 matches on Tuesday, and winning a 40 over match yesterday.

For four members of the team, it was their last year in the Central Highlands pathway program after 11 years of being involved.

But for many members of the team, they'll return next year.

"We'll come back bigger and better," Martin said.

"All the girls were pretty disappointed - it's sad to say goodbye to the carnival, but they understand that that's cricket and you can't win them all."

The finals will be between South East Metro and Gippsland Pride at the MCG on February 24.