Newcastle district cricket | Hamilton-Wickham's Matt Webber makes a crucial 30 not out at No.11.

PATIENT: Ben Balcomb played the anchor role for Hamwicks at Passmore Oval on Saturday, topscoring against Charlestown with 69. Pictures: Marina Neil

PATIENT: Ben Balcomb played the anchor role for Hamwicks at Passmore Oval on Saturday, topscoring against Charlestown with 69. Pictures: Marina Neil

IT was the family commitment Charlestown players wished had lasted a little longer.

POSITIVE SPINNER: Isaac Wallace took seven wickets for Charlestown.

POSITIVE SPINNER: Isaac Wallace took seven wickets for Charlestown.

In their round-eight clash at Passmore Oval on Saturday, the Magpies had reigning Newcastle District Cricket Association premiers Hamilton-Wickham eight down approaching the tea break.

Experienced all-rounder Matt Webber had still not appeared at the crease, apparently because he was attending a ballet concert.

WATCHFUL: Jordy Toby on his way to 39 against Charlestown on Saturday.

WATCHFUL: Jordy Toby on his way to 39 against Charlestown on Saturday.

If Charlestown could have just grabbed a ninth wicket, Hamwicks’ innings would have been all over.

Instead Hamwicks tailenders Abraham Gibson and Tom Dwyer resisted until the interval, allowing Webber enough time to arrive and pad up.

Fresh from a century in his last innings, he walked into bat at No.11, smacked a quick 30 not out, and added 49 with Dwyer (38) for the last wicket.

“We knew he wasn’t at the ground,” Charlestown skipper Steve Mace said. “He turned up about an over after tea. I wish he’d stayed [at the concert] a bit longer.”

The last-ditch stand took Hamwicks to a tally of 256, of which Ben Balcomb topscored with 69.

Leg-spinner Isaac Wallace took 7-128 for the visitors.

“It’ll be a good challenge for us next week,” Mace said.

“Two-fifty is a competitive total but it’s one we reckon we can chase down.

“The wicket’s good and the outfield was running, so if the conditions are the same next week, if we bat well and bat our 90 overs, we should get them.”

Mace said his batsmen would take confidence from their last-start innings of 9-267 against Merewether.

At Miller Field, Waratah-Mayfield gave themselves a fighting chance against Belmont, thanks to an unbeaten 125 from Jonty Durrheim.

Durrheim, who hit 11 fours and a six in 176 balls, and opener Asher Robins (48) steered Waratah to 4-235 from 75 overs before rain stopped play.

University will be pushing for an outright win against Stockton after taking first-innings points at Uni No.1.

Stockton were bundled out for 91, after Michael Radnidge took 6-34 from 18 overs.

The Students wasted no time in grabbing the lead, progressing to 3-116 from 23 overs, after a quickfire 56 from opener James Rushford.

Wests and Newcastle City will also have their eyes on maximum points.

At Harker Oval, Wests will resume at 1-56 chasing Cardiff-Boolaroo’s 145.

Meanwhile, Dylan Hunter (5-46) helped City dismiss Toronto Workers for 115 at No.1 Sportsground. The home team were 0-24 in response.

At Townson Oval, competition leaders Merewether recovered from a shaky start to post 8-217 from 69 overs against Wallsend.

Merewether lost both openers, Josh Geary and Ben Egan, for ducks, and appeared in strife at 5-39.

But a 115-run stand between Michael Eccleston (72) and Daniel Andrews (64) ensured they held the upper hand at close of play.