Newcastle edged out of NSW Country Championships

DISAPPOINTMENT: Jason Lawson bowls for Newcastle during yesterday’s NSW Country Championships clash against Central North at Belmont. Picture: Brock Perks

RAIN ended up denying Newcastle a fair shot at reaching the NSW Country Championships final for a second straight year after they finished undefeated but lost out to Central Coast on net run rate at Belmont yesterday.

After the match between Central Coast and Newcastle was washed out on Friday, both sides won on Saturday to set-up a run-rate showdown yesterday for the right to play Western in the final at Wade Park in Orange next Sunday.

Newcastle played Central North at Miller Field and Central Coast took on North Coast at Cahill Oval.

Both teams won but Central Coast finished with a net run rate of 2.77 across the carnival to Newcastle’s 2.53 to claim the Northern Pool.

Captain Mark Littlewood gave Newcastle a chance of edging out Central Coast with a whirlwind 118 off 92 balls in his side’s 3-288. 

Littlewood, batting at No.4, hit four sixes and 12 fours and shared a 165-run, third-wicket stand with Pat Darwen (63 runs off 64 balls). Simon Moore made 59.

Newcastle then dismissed Central North for 200 in 45.4 overs.

 Opening bowler Jace Lawson took 5-24 and spinner Ben Evans 2-46 for the hosts.

Central Coast, meanwhile, held North Coast to 133 in 46.2 overs then passed the target five wickets down off 22.1 overs to boost their equation.

Newcastle chairman of selectors Phil Stanbridge said poor fielding hurt his team’s chances.

‘‘There’s not much  we could have done,’’ he said. 

‘‘We dropped a few catches yesterday and a few today, and that was probably the difference. 

‘‘But we bowled out a side for 71 yesterday and won by 88 runs today, it’s just a shame the weather played a part.’’

Last year Newcastle’s first-round match was also washed out. They were then caught on wet wicket in their loss to eventual champions Western.

On Saturday, off-spinner Nick Foster took 5-30 as Newcastle dismissed North Coast for 71.  Moore made 48 as they won by eight wickets. Central Coast reached 1-108 in 20.3 overs to overhaul’s Central North 107 on Saturday.

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