UNSW wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Gilkes has produced a solid all-round performance for the Desert Blaze in their 29-run loss to the City Cyclones in the final of the Northern Territory Strike League on Sunday.
The teenager from ACT Southern was a shining light for the Blaze on a disappointing day for his side. He was their highest scorer with 48 from 61 balls at No. 4 and took two catches behind the stumps.
Last season Gilkes represented ACT/NSW Country at both the Under 19 National Championships, and for the first time, in the Toyota Futures League.
He scored 224 runs in his five matches during the Futures League including two half-centuries. During the Under 19 national titles, Gilkes posted 187 runs and claimed nine catches in seven matches.
The Cyclones batted first on Sunday and it was former Gordon First Grade player Joshua Doyle, who stole the game away from the Blaze from the outset.
Doyle made 125 from 122 balls and held the Cyclones innings together to help them to 9/261 from the allotted 50 overs. He followed that with the impressive bowling figures of 4-62 from his 10 overs.
The Blaze suffered a bitter blow very early in the chase when their star batsman over the last two weekends of the tournament, dynamic Parramatta top order player Ben Abbott, was run out without facing a ball.
Abbott had scored two centuries in two of the final three matches before the final and finished the competition with 309 runs at 51.5.
Northern District opening batsman Henry Hunt (16) unfortunately missed out on capitalising on his good start in the first innings when dismissed in the early overs, but still finished the tournament as the second leading run-scorer with 341 runs at 34.1.