Waratah-Mayfield skipper Scott Mackenzie received a phone call off club legend Murray Christie on Sunday night which highlighted the significance of his side’s unbeaten start to the 2016-2017 season.
Mackenzie has steered Waratah-Mayfield to three victories in the opening two weekends of competition, back-to-back in the Newcastle District Cricket Association and another in the first round of Country Cup.
This has already surpassed last season’s record and they sit second on the ladder with 14 points, alongside University and two under leaders Hamilton-Wickham.
Christie reckons it has been the best part of 20 years since the two-time reigning wooden spooners experienced that sort of launch into a summer.
“This is the best it has been for a long time,” Mackenzie said.
“I actually had a phone call from Muz [Murray Christie] the other night. He congratulated us and he reckons the last time a Waratah first grade team went three from three to start the season was 1999. So its been a while.”
Mackenzie, the 22-year-old in his second season as captain, is a Waratah junior and has been part of the first grade squad for around six summers.
Mackenzie and other home-grown players such as Liam Wilson, Ben Sullivan, Josh Brackenbury, Sam Harrison, Matt Onslow and Blake Morley have been joined by new recruits such as Jonte Durrheim (Cardiff-Boolaroo), Asher Robins (Univeristy) and Linden Lockhart (Lordswood – UK).
In particular 26-year-old English import and county second XI representative Lockhart has already made an impact – scoring 180 runs including two undefeated half-centuries, snaring three wickets and taking two catches.
“We’re not doing all that much different, but having some new faces there helps,” Mackenzie said.
“They have brought some new ideas and we’ve been working really hard on executing our plans. There’s still room for improvements but it’s a nice change.”
The opening two-day fixture of the season is scheduled to start on Saturday and Waratah-Mayfield host winless Charlestown, who will be skipped by out-of-retirement Steve Mace in the absence of Dane Macourt.
The pick of round three encounters has in-form all-rounder Mark Dries (203 runs, 6 wickets) up against returning former NSW second XI player Ben Woolmer when Hamwicks travel to Harker Oval and meet fourth-placed Wests.
Elsewhere, unbeaten University are away to Newcastle City, Merewether tackles Stockton-Raymond Terrace, Ron Hill Oval is the venue for Toronto versus Wallsend and Belmont challenge Cardiff-Boolaroo.
Play from 11am.
Meanwhile, Griffin Lea, Tom Allen and Glenn Winsor are among 13 Newcastle cricketers who will vie for a training contract with BBL franchise the Sydney Sixers at No.1 Sportsground on Thursday.
LADDER: Hamilton-Wickham 16, Waratah-Mayfield 14, University 14, Wests 10, Newcastle City 9, Stockton-Raymond Terrace 8, Toronto 8, Belmont 8, Merewether 6, Charlestown 2, Wallsend 1, Cardiff-Boolaroo 0.