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Woodford’s Jayvan Houston (left) and West Warrnambool Panthers’ captain Ben Threlfall scored centuries last weekend and will face off in this weekend’s under 17 grand final.BIG-HITTING openers Jayvan Houston and Ben Threlfall charge into Sunday’s Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA) under 17 grand final with blistering form after producing maiden centuries last weekend.
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The teenagers managed triple figures in high-pressure semi-finals, propelling their respective sides to the season decider at Reid Oval.

Woodford’s Jayvan climbed to 111 against Merrivale Tigers on Sunday, while West Warrnambool’s Ben knocked an unbeaten 119 against Koroit Saints.

The Warrnambool College students, who are also leg-spin bowlers, assessed the grand final deck this week and admitted to some pre-match jitters.

Expectations have particularly escalated for Jayvan, after he recorded a string of solid displays with the bat, including 80 not out against Nestles in the last round of the season.

“When you perform once, there’s pressure to perform again,” he said.

“But I should have the guys to back me up this weekend. We’re looking forward to it.”

The 16-year-old has made 363 runs in under 17s this season, averaging 45.4, and has taken 15 wickets.

He said last weekend’s century, celebrated with a leap in the air and a wave of the bat, was the result of patience and persistence.

“When I got to 50 it got my confidence up and I wanted to keep the momentum going,” he said.

Jayvan is also a fixture of Woodford’s division one team, alongside his playing-coach dad John.

Averaging 21.5 runs in the top grade, the youngster said his game had improved from facing tough and consistent deliveries.

“The bowlers are quicker and more accurate in division one,” he said.

“They put the ball in the same spot, (whereas) in under 17s they can be all over the shop.”

Ben also said his game had improved after being a regular in West’s division three side this season, where he averages 16.1 runs.

“I would’ve liked to get a few more runs there,” he said.

“We’re (third) at the moment, so I’ll probably play finals with them too.

“It’s good to play longer cricket, the two-day games. It’s good batting practice.”

The 15-year-old practised with mates at an indoor session last Friday night, which was planned to be a one-off.

But after knocking a ton in the semi, he will mirror the preparation ahead of Sunday’s grand final in the hope that he can produce another solid contribution.

The opener, who has lifted his under 17 average to an impressive 65.3 and his aggregate to 457, said his aim last weekend was to help the Panthers to an imposing total.

“I was a bit nervous going in and started a bit slow, but once I got going I was able to play a few more shots,” he said.

“I was lucky enough to keep going.

“I wasn’t sure what I was on but I thought I was probably getting close (to a century).

“(My teammates) started clapping and then I knew.

“I definitely wanted to make one but I didn’t think it was going to be this soon.”

The Panthers are aiming to go one better than last year, when they finished runner-up in the under 17 competition.

“I thought we had a good enough team this season to make it all the way to the grand final,” said Ben, who is only bottom-age.

“I think we’re a good chance to win, but both teams are very similar.”

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