Tony Ryan has played and watched more cricket than most central Victorians.
The Bendigo Cricket Club senior coach and BDCA secretary has witnessed some fine individual innings in his time, but few matched the class and elegance of Ben Williams' century in an under-21 representative game on Sunday.
The Eaglehawk teenager made an unbeaten 140 to guide Northern Rivers to victory over South East Country.
Chasing South East Country's total of 8-252 off 50 overs, Northern Rivers won with 17 balls and five wickets to spare, thanks to Williams' super 140 not out off 155 balls.
"It was as good an innings as I've seen from a kid,'' Ryan, who coached the Northern Rivers side, said of Williams.
"His ability to temper his innings was just phenomenal. His first 50 was probably a run per ball with really good strokeplay and then he just dropped back a cog and controlled the game.
"Towards the end he got fatigued, but he kept digging in and playing the right shots accordingly.
"To bat through the innings and chase down 252 was a great knock."
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Williams hit 11 fours and four sixes and had a partnership of 110 for the second wicket with Strathfieldsaye's Connor Lyon (43 off 51 balls).
Ben Williams is the youngest son of former Eaglehawk and Carlton cricket great Neil Williams, who tormented bowling attacks in the BDCA and Premier Cricket.
"Ben played some shots that were identical to his old man,'' Ryan said.
"Some of his cover drives took me back 20-25 years to when Neil was playing."
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The Northern Rivers' under-21 success was matched by the under-18 squad.
The under-18s dismissed South East Country for 135 at Dower Park, with Strathdale-Maristians duo Ethan Maltby (2-19) and James Barri (2-11) bowling well.
In reply, Northern Rovers needed just 30 overs to pass the visitors total.
Sandhurst's Jasper Langley continued his good form with an unbeaten 40 off 48 balls.
The Northern Rivers' under-21 women suffered a five-wicket loss to Murray Malley.
Shepparton teen Gemma Boyd made 36 to be Northern Rivers' best player.
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