New South Wales victorious in National Cricket Inclusion Championships

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A 24-year wait is over for New South Wales at the National Cricket Inclusion Championships as it claimed the blind and vision impaired title for the first time since 1994 in Geelong on Australia Day.

The three-run win against Victoria in the Final also meant NSW went through the tournament undefeated for the first time in more than 30 years.

In other matches, NSW Intellectual Disability team finished the championships in 4th overall after a loss to Queensland in the semi-finals, while the NSW Deaf Cricket team also reached the semi-final before they were defeated by South Australia, again placing them in 4th position.

NSW had to work hard to secure the blind and vision impaired crown. The Final went down to the last over of the game.

Victoria won the toss and sent NSW into bat with Lindsay Heaven and Nathan Leets to open the innings for the boys in blue.

NSW lost the wicket of Leets (4) with the score at 33 which brought the in-form Shaun Fitzpatrick to the crease.

He combined with Heaven for a partnership of 119 before Fitzpatrick (27 not out) unfortunately retired hurt.

A defiant Heaven went on to make a crucial 81 from 61 balls. It was his highest score of the tournament in the biggest match for NSW during the competition.

Both he and Fitzpatrick ultimately guided NSW to a very competitive total of 2/188 from the allotted 20 overs.

The pair were in the top ten leading run scorers for the 2018 competition. Heaven scored 298 runs at an average of 99.33. Fitzpatrick made 154 runs at 51.33 which included his highest score of 59.

Matthew Cameron was the leading run-scorer for NSW. He amassed 326 runs in seven matches at 108.67.

The highest run-getter for the tournament was South Australian Stephen Palmer, who compiled a tremendous 559 runs at 186.33.

In reply, Victoria was in a good position at 2/79. Ned Brewer Maiga (62 not out) batted well before he retired hurt and Steve Obeid (50 not out) was joined in the middle by Daniel Pritchard (21).

The pair occupied the crease for a long time before Heaven – who was also the equal third leading wicket taker for the competition with four wickets at 29.25 – again made his mark on the match.

A great catch from Oscar Stubbs in the deep off the aforementioned Heaven (2-34) dismissed Pritchard with the score on 174.

At the beginning of the last over, Victoria would require a further 17 runs to win the game.

The ball was again thrown to Heaven who kept his cool under pressure in the final over. He conceded only 13 runs to seal a tense three-run win and break the long drought. 

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