Newcastle District Cricket Association: Wests break 52-season first grade trophy drought | photos

COMBINATION: Man-of-the-match Aaron Wivell and Tom Allen after a defining unbroken 40-run partnership saw Wests home over Merewether by three wickets in the Tom Locker Cup final at No.1 Sportsground on Sunday. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
COMBINATION: Man-of-the-match Aaron Wivell and Tom Allen after a defining unbroken 40-run partnership saw Wests home over Merewether by three wickets in the Tom Locker Cup final at No.1 Sportsground on Sunday. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

The last time Wests won a Newcastle first grade cricket trophy Harold Holt was Prime Minister, decimal currency was introduced into Australia and the St George Dragons claimed a record 11th straight rugby league premiership.

None of the current players were born and neither were some of their parents. 

But on Sunday night the Rosellas had every reason to celebrate after breaking that 52-season silverware drought with a three-wicket victory over Merewether in the Tom Locker Cup final at No.1 Sportsground.

“It’s so good. It’s been 50-something years since any trophy so it’s good to finally take one home,” Wests skipper James King said.

“We still have blokes hanging around that were there back then. It’s good for them. It’s taken a long time for us to get here.”

The last success across any format for Wests, then known as Lambton-New Lambton, was a minor-major premiership in 1965-1966, their third double in the space of a decade with the likes of Jim DeCourcy, Ken Hill and Ossie Lambert leading the charge. 

On the weekend man-of-the-match Aaron Wivell (48 not out) and NSW Country paceman Tom Allen (19 not out) put their stamp on club history, combining for an unbroken 40-run partnership to steer Wests home in the 40-over decider.

They came together at 7-95 and walked into the embrace of teammates and faithful supporters after surpassing Merewether’s total of 134 with 26 balls remaining.

This performance helped put to bed two previous Tom Locker Cup final losses for Wests (1992-1993, 1998-1999) and clinch the Rosellas’ maiden one-day crown.

“It was good to see and it was a different innings to what he [Wivell] normally bats,” King said.

“He was real switched on today and Tommy Allen at the end as well.” 

The showdown hung in the balance for most of the afternoon, but Wests eventually got across the line and Merewether captain Simon Moore admitted the “better team won on the day”.

“We were a few short today, probably about 30 [runs], but Wests bowled well,” Moore said. 

“We thought we had a chance at the back end of the game, but the boys for them batted well and kept their composure.” 

Merewether leg-spinner Courtney Moulton retired hurt with a hamstring injury when batting and looks set for an extended stint on the sidelines. The Lions’ best performer was all-rounder Josh Geary (31, 2-26).

Wests’ Joe Price (3-10) and King (3-20) split six wickets.

Elsewhere and Central Coast will be Newcastle’s opponents in the NSW Country Championship final at Bowral’s Bradman Oval next Sunday (November 26) after they took out the southern pool in Illawarra over the weekend.