Tahs closing in on rare victory

KEEN: Waratahs captain Josh Brackenbury in action behind the stumps.  Picture: Dean Osland

WARATAH-Mayfield pride themselves on being giant-killers.

Victories have been elusive for the Newcastle district cricket strugglers in recent seasons, but the highlights have been impressive.

Last season the Tahs defeated minor premiers Hamilton-Wickham on first innings and were 19 runs short of beating champions Merewether.

In 2010-11 they won outright over University, who later won the two-day final.

Waratah are six wickets away from causing another major upset today against a strong Western Suburbs XI at Waratah Oval.

The Rosellas will resume at 4-48, still 169 runs behind the Tahs.

It has been 11 months since Waratah last won a two-day match, and their captain, Josh Brackenbury, said his side were ‘‘pumped’’ to end the drought today.

‘‘We’ve shown in the past we can do it when we put it all together in one day,’’ Brackenbury said.

‘‘We realise in these games that everyone has written us off before we bowl a ball, but we’ve got nothing to lose.’’

Three key  wickets stand between Waratah and victory – those of Wests skipper Ben Woolmer, Anthony Hobson and Scott Sharma.

Woolmer is unbeaten on 17 and Hobson and Sharma are yet to bat.

‘‘The three of them are the key and getting them cheaply will be the key to winning the match,’’ Brackenbury said.

Newcastle City are also attempting to bag their own scalp in their match against  leaders Hamilton-Wickham at No.1 Sportsground.

Hamwicks will resume at 4-101 in reply to City’s 166.

Last week was a big improvement for City after they came within one wicket of losing outright to Toronto Workers a fortnight ago.

Sabres rookie captain Jesse Major has backed his unheralded bowling unit to cover for the injury to left-arm quick Greg West.

West suffered a triceps injury while making his Futures League debut for ACT Comets last week against NSW Second XI and is not expected to return until after Christmas.

With leading all-rounder Mark Dries not playing this season, West was expected to become the strike bowler.

Instead Major will rely on seamers Rhys Gallen, Wayne Nichols and Max Bryant to break through the Hamwicks middle order and cause a major upset.

English quick Richard Wharton, 20, arrived on Thursday to boost their bowling stocks, along with his wicketkeeper-batsman brother, Edward Wharton, 19.

‘‘I think the other three boys that we have there now are going to have to step up and we’ve just got another new Pom who arrived yesterday,’’ Major said.

‘‘He looks promising so hopefully he can step up into the first-grade squad.’’    

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