THE under 14s Shoalhaven District Junior Cricket Association representative side has shown the future of the sport is in safe hands, after taking out the 2020-21 Greater Illawarra Zone Inter-Association competition.
Heading into Sunday's round three clash at Howard Fowles Oval with South Coast, Brad Ingram's side was undefeated following wins against both Illawarra and Highlands - meaning victory would secure them the Inter-Association title.
But Shoalhaven didn't have it all their own way on Sunday after the hosts won the toss and elected to bat.
Behind 62 from Baxter McDonald and 32 from Jacob Coleman, the hosts posted 9-170 from their 40 overs, despite Jackson Ingram's 3-27.
Opener Campbell Bramley also took 2-20 for the visitors.
In reply, Shoalhaven struggled to get going, with only Henry Mackay (27) and Jackson Ingram (23) offering any real resistance, as they were all out for 135 in the 40th over.
Jaiden Robinson (3-27) and Baxter McDonald (2-18) did most of the damage for the hosts in the win.
Despite the loss, Shoalhaven still finished on top of the ladder on 12 points, one ahead of Illawarra, who defeated Highlands in Sunday's other fixture (2-69 to 68).
Elsewhere, Shoalhaven under 13s side finished second in the table after overcoming South Coast at the Thompson Street Sporting Complex on Sunday.
The visitors batted first and posted 7-135 behind skipper Kasey Barton's 45.
With the ball, Chayce Brown and Tobias Eyland took 2-13 and 2-17 respectively for the hosts.
In their chase, Shoalhaven left their run late and reached the target (3-138) on the final ball, with seven wickets to spare - with Flynn Dunn (34 not out) and Elijah Guyatt (31) starring.
Harrison Welch took 2-21 with the ball for South Coast.
Shoalhaven finished second to Illawarra, who downed Highlands 8-193 to 5-144 at Centennial Park.
Finally, Shoalhaven's under 16s side won their last game of the campaign against South Coast at Tom Willoughby Oval.
Batting first, Jake Monie's 38 guided South Coast to 151 from their 46 overs - despite Luke Gallen's 4-11.
In reply, Patrick Higgins (41) and Alec Dobson (32 not out) guided Shoalhaven to victory (4-153) in the 45th over.
Cooper Harrison (2-16) did all he could in the loss.
Following the conclusion of all three competitions, Highlands' Sam Harwood, Shoalhaven's Jackson Ingram (under 14s) and Illawarra's Callum Milsom were each named their division's respective champion players.
Both the Greater Illawarra under 12s and under 18s Inter-Association competitions kick-off this Sunday.
The under 12s will take on Illawarra at the Thompson Street Sporting Complex, while the under 18s host Highlands at the Bernie Regan Sports Complex.