Northern Suburbs skipper Lincoln Mills has sung the praises of young teammates Ben Sugden and Sean Gibson for Norths' crucial three-wicket win against the previously undefeated Raymond Terrace.
Sugden was the anchor at the top of the innings scoring 44 and Gibson contributed an invaluable 29 not out in a 46-run eighth-wicket partnership with Jordan Callinan (19 not out).
"Ben Sugden was our players' player. He scored a very important 44 for us but it was more the time in the middle. It was 140 balls, which taken out of context is a slow innings, but the importance of that was that everyone else could build around him," Mills said.
"He did that for us all last season when we had a pretty tough time and he is doing it again for us this year. He is like a brick wall in defence, He is phenomenal. He is another young kid who has taken his opportunity and run with it."
Mills said the win sets up Norths to finish the first half of the season in or on the cusp of the top four.
"We did it the hard way but it was a very good win. We knew we were going to have a tough game but to get there the way we did, I'm very proud of the effort," Mills said.
"It was an important win for us, it leaves us in fifth spot equal on points with Kurri Weston.
"We had a tough start to the season taking on City and Wests in the first two games. In my opinion they are the top two teams. But while it was tough it gave us a good benchmark of where we need to be as a team.
"We were pretty devastated with the loss to East. It was a close game and one we felt we should have won.
"We felt we let ourselves down in that game, To back up from that with the bowling performance last week and then a batting performance, which wasn't pretty but got the job done, was important and showed we are building into the season.
"We've got a couple of big weeks in front of us with Kurri and Tenambit and if we can go into the break with four wins it will be a very good start for us."
Mills said Gibson had been an outstanding addition to Norths both on and off the field.
"I can't speak highly enough of Sean. We were wrapped that he signed with us to start with., The performances he has put in for us and the work ethic he has brought to his training has been enormous," he said.
"He is coaching one of our junior teams. He has fully embedded himself in our club.
"The performances he has been putting on the field are terrific. He has been there for us time and again with the bat when needed."
Mills said the performance was a strong sign of the growing maturity of the young Norths side
"We are a young team in age, but the guys are starting to get up there in terms of first grade games played now and they are starting to step up," he said.
"Cal Gabriel is another young bloke who has really stepped up. He has brought back a real energy after sitting on the sidelines last year with his football commitments.
"He was at almost all of our games last year but unable to play. His bowling has been terrific and the value he puts on his bat is very good, although he probably had an innings he would prefer to put behind him this week."