NEW South Wales has stamped itself as the state to beat at the School Sport Australia 12-and-under Cricket Championships.
The championships opened over the weekend at grounds across Bendigo and the Blues made their intentions clear early on.
The NSW female squad was in ominous form in rounds one and two thumping Victoria Invitational and the ACT, while their male counterparts were every bit as impressive in defeating the ACT and Northern Territory.
It was a mixed weekend for the host state.
The boys scored an easy win over the NT on Saturday, before being pushed all the way by South Australia on Sunday.
The girls bowled well to defeat South Australia on day one, but suffered a 44-run loss to Queensland on day two.
It's the Blues who everyone will be chasing.
The NSW boys, who were joint winners of the Ricky Ponting Shield last year with Queensland, put on a batting display on Saturday.
Jasper McGill (64 not out), Valentino Woszczalski (56), Billy McGuiness (47) and William Fort (44) all looked in good touch as the Blues made 4-255 off 50 overs against the ACT.
In reply, the ACT was bowled out for 120, with Julen Sanchez (25) and Jay Allen (22) the pick of the batsmen.
Alex Sidhu (3-18) did the damage with the ball.
Victoria's round one win was highlighed by a hat-trick to Alex Cesarios (4-12).
The Victorian bowler claimed the final three NT wickets in successive deliveries.
Earlier, captain Fergus O'Neill made a polished 72 to lead the Vics (7-186) to a first-up win over the NT (72).
Nelson Sonntag (20) top scored for the NT.
The best individual performance of the weekend came from South Australia's Sam Bruce.
The SA bowler took the outstanding figures of 6-11 off 10 overs to help his side to a 49 run win over Queensland on Saturday.
SA bowled the Maroons out for 79 before responding with 6-128.
James Du Preez made an unbeaten 54 for South Australia.
In Sunday's round two action in the Ricky Ponting Shield, South Australia went within 13 runs of upstaging Victoria.
After winning the toss and batting at Tannery Lane, Victoria made 6-186 off 50 overs, thanks largely to an unbeaten 57 from Ashley Chandrasinghe.
SA skipper Josh Hoffman made a superb 73 to give his side a chance, but the visitors evetually fell 13 runs short.
Queensland opened its account on the back of an even team performance against the ACT,
The Maroons made 9-147 (Max Clayton 27) before dismissing the ACT for 91.
Julen Sanchez continued his good form for the ACT, making 38.
In the final round two game, NSW (3-98) had little trouble in chasing down the NT's total of 81.
Luke Perkin (4-11) and Alex Sidhu (3-15) were the stars for the Blues.
The NSW girls have won the Grahame Barrett Shield three of the past four years and there's no reason to suggest this year will be any different.
Rachel Trenaman (50 retired) and Jess Langford (3-10) led the way on day one as the Blues (5-174) outclassed Victoria Invitational (26).
The best game on day one was at North Bendigo where Victoria (8-98) defeated Souyth Australia (8-63).
For the Vics, Clementine Ryan-Fuller bowled superbly to take 4-5 off seven overs, while Annabel Sutherland, the daughter of Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland, top scored with 20.
Bendigo's Kate Douglass batted late in the innings for Victoria and made two.
Laura Niejalke (3-7), Emma de Brughe (3-13) and Madison Newman (22) were SA's best performed players.
Queensland's 3-221 was always going to be too many for the ACT, who were dismissed for 10.
Charli Knott (51 retired) and Courtney Sippel (37 not out) did the damage with the bat for Queensland, while the wickets were shared around.
In round two action, Victoria's title hopes were dealt a blow when it lost to Queensland.
The Maroons (Sarah Grove 3-15) bowled tightly to restrict Victoria (Annabel Sutherland 26) to 90.
Renee Irvine (28 not out), Jamie Mills (26 retired) and Neve Lynch (25 not out) guided Queensland to 5-134.
NSW compiled 3-222 off its 35 overs against the ACT.
The Blues then bowled the ACT out for 34.
Mariam Bank (52 not out and 2-0) and Isabelle Arafas (23 retired and 3-1) had days to remember for NSW.
In the final game of day two, South Australia (108) proved too strong for a gallant Victorian Invitational (59) outfit.
SA's Laura Niejalke (42 not out) showed she's one of the players to watch this tournament. Sarah Sansonetti bowled beautifully for Victoria Invitational to claim 3-7.
Today is a rest day, with action to resume on Tuesday.