Wanganui's young guns were put down by superior firepower at New Plymouth's Pukekura Park yesterday with a five-wicket loss in the Young XI challenge.
The Young Wanganui side, made up of the under-20 players from the Hawke Cup team plus other teenaged prospects, recovered from a middle-order collapse against Young Taranaki to pull through to 212 in the 50-over game.
Wanganui High School's Kane Watkin stepped up with a patient, undefeated 57 from 76 balls, assisted by the rearguard action from his team's No10 and 11.
Coach Dilan Raj said the plan for Taranaki's turn at bat was to unleash the quicks, Collegiate's Charlie Robson and Nick Blundell, on their top order before slowing them right down as the wicket wore down.
It nearly worked as Robson provided the early breakthrough but Taranaki settled into their work on Pukekura's short boundaries.
Raj said it had proved a big learning curve for several of the young bowlers, who must work more diligently on their game.
In club cricket, two bad deliveries in an over can be circumvented by the four good ones but not at this level.
Raj singled out Blundell, who constantly works on his bowling, as a good example conceeding only 24 from his 10 overs.
Rupert Young and Ricky Riccetteli recovered from Taranaki's early loss with 36 and 26 respectively, before talented James Mcdougall stepped to the mark.
He took the game away with a well-complied 71 from 101 balls, including three sixes.
John Dickson had a great supporting hand with a quickfire 42 and although Trent Hemi had him caught by Blundell, the writing was on the wall at 201-5 with plenty of overs left.
Earlier, Wanganui made a promising start as Marist's John McIlraith went nearly a run a ball before he was caught for 42 in the 15th over.
Disaster struck by the 20th over as Collegiate's Andre Halbert was run out, then captain Dom Lock was late playing a Henry Boon delivery to be bowled first ball.
Brett Cameron fell to a catch in the next over, leaving Wanganui staring down the barrel at 78-5.
However, Watkin showed resolve, while Robson came out blasting - hoisting three sixes in a quickfire 31 from 28 balls to set the locals back.
Raj said the young slogger needed to be selective by looking to hit square rather than long, which proved his undoing as he went straight and missed, giving Boon his second hit of the stumps.
There was a strong wag in the tail, however, as Marist's Sam O'Leary and Wanganui High's Jack Stewart doggedly secured 30 priceless runs between them.
Neither had pretences at being batsmen, but O'Leary showed what was possible by constantly dabbing the ball around during his innings of 20 well-taken runs.
Running out of partners, Watkin had paced himself well by scoring a fair clip to bring up his half century before his side folded in the 49th over.