NEWCASTLE were left ruing a horrendous start to the Bradman Cup after they failed to qualify for the final of the under-16 state championships held today in Nowra.
In their final qualifying match yesterday at Bernie Regan Oval, Newcastle (9-176) finally displayed their full potential by beating Illawarra (142).
But due to earlier losses against Western and North Coastal on Monday and Tuesday, Newcastle’s 34-run victory was all in vain.
‘‘We were way off the pace first day and there was no indication that was going to happen,’’ Newcastle coach Neil McDonald said yesterday.
‘‘Western just towelled us up and the boys really came back strongly yesterday, maybe not with the bat, but with the ball and in the field.’’
In Monday’s opener Western made 5-270 in 50 overs and restricted Newcastle to 6-178.
Newcastle were then rolled for 99 in game two against North Coastal, leaving their opponents to chase down the target three wickets down.
Cardiff-Boolaroo batsman Bayley McGill took the helm of the fightback for Newcastle in game three, scoring a captain’s knock of 85 in their 9-176.
Wallsend’s Josh Pettigrew (3-42) and Stockton’s Lachlan Edwards (2-11) then chipped in with the ball for the win.
Next week a 24-man team will be picked for a training camp in April where next summer’s under-17 NSW Country side will be chosen.
McGill is a near certainty to make the cut and Pettigrew and seamer Tyson Beatty are also strong possibilities.