Newcastle District Cricket Association: England-bound Keith Moody delivers win for Stockton at home

RUNS: Stockton 18-year-old Keith Moody scored a match-winning 98 not out for his hometown club in Newcastle district's first grade competition on Saturday. Picture: Merrillie Redden
RUNS: Stockton 18-year-old Keith Moody scored a match-winning 98 not out for his hometown club in Newcastle district's first grade competition on Saturday. Picture: Merrillie Redden

English-bound batsman Keith Moody may have fallen two short of his maiden first-grade century, but the Stockton 18-year-old wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Moody made a career-best 98 not out at Lynn Oval on Saturday and fortunately didn’t run out of partners, rather his beloved Seagulls past the total of their opponents and recorded what was a rare win this season.   

“I came off the field and got told I only needed two more, I couldn’t believe it,” the right-hander said.

“The next day we realised it was two-day rules so we could have kept playing after we won, but we didn’t realise at the time.  

“Ah well, at least we got the win. That was the most satisfying thing. It wouldn’t have meant as much to me if we didn’t win. I was really happy.”

The result could have quite easily gone the other way, as it has plenty of other times for the tenth-placed team in 2017-2018. 

Chasing down Newcastle City’s 5-238 from 45 overs on day two of the round 12 fixture, Stockton-Raymond Terrace were 2-9 and then 3-54 with both skipper Jeff Goninan and NSW Country representative Nick Foster back in the pavilion.

Enter Moody, who combined with Laurence Kelly (83) for a 163-run fourth-wicket partnership, before eventually reaching the required target five down with 33 balls to spare. 

“Me and Laurence have been struggling a bit with scores this year so it was good we both got one and were able to get over the line in the end,” Moody said.

“We always knew we could chase the runs at Lynn Oval – small boundary, fast outfield, pretty flat wicket – it was just about hanging around.

”It’s been a tough year. I think those close results come down to a lack of experience, most of our team are 23 and under. We’ve always had the potential, but it’s just about doing it week in and week out now.

“Anyway, a few of the old boys and other grades were in the sheds after the game and the song was very loud. It was one of the best renditions I’ve heard for a while.”

Moody, born and bred on the peninsula, started playing with the club at under 9s and followed the footsteps of father Andrew, better known as Paul, into first grade when making his debut last summer.

“I’ve never been anywhere else and always wear that cap with pride,” Moody said.

In April Moody, who finished school at Hamilton’s St Francis Xavier College last year, will venture further afield for six months by deferring PE teaching study at the University of Newcastle to play in England with West Midlands club Pelsall in the Staffordshire Club Cricket Championship.  

“I’ve always wanted to do it and I thought this was the perfect opportunity,” he said.

Moody said the direct link was Pelsall’s Todd Henderson, who played with Stockton in 2011-2012 and midway through the summer led the district’s first grade bowling ranks with 30 wickets at an average of 11.83.