ACT Comets and Australian Country paceman Andrew Maher proved a match-winner with bat and ball on Saturday as Hamilton-Wickham routed Newcastle City by an innings and 12 runs at No.1 Sportsground.
Registering their third straight outright victory, Hamwicks extended their lead atop the Newcastle District Cricket Association ladder but were in danger of surrendering first-innings points until Maher joined Ben Balcomb at the crease.
Having resumed at 4-101 in reply to City’s modest total of 166, Hamwicks collapsed to be precariously placed at 9-159. But Maher (41) and Balcomb (32 not out) combined for an 80-run partnership for the last wicket to establish a 73-run first-innings lead.
Maher, who had figures of 5-28 in the first innings, then took 3-16 and Sam Webber snared 5-23 to roll City for just 61 in their second dig.
Hamwicks have now taken maximum points from their first four games, including two bonus points plus the standard six against Waratah-Mayfield in the first-round one-day match on September 29.
Now they sit on 38 points and are leading the pack by 14.
Captain Kirk Mullard had to attend a family wedding soon after Hamwicks secured first-inning points, leaving Newcastle representative batsman Josh Trappel in charge.
‘‘We were four-for overnight with about 60 runs to get and ended up being nine-for with eight runs to get. So I can tell you there were a lot of nerves in the stands,’’ Trappel said yesterday.
‘‘For a No.11 like Mahery, I’ve always had faith in his batting, so it just goes to show he’s not too bad. He was second top score for us, so there’s nothing wrong with his batting.
‘‘Then when we bowled, we bowled amazing, and he was our best bowler by far. Sam took five wickets but the way Mahery hit his lines was amazing.’’
Merewether moved to outright second on 24 points when they crushed Charlestown by 10 wickets at Townson Oval.
Troy Goodwin (58) and skipper Simon Moore (49) led the Lions to 8-254 declared in reply to Charlestown’s first innings of 161. Former Wallsend captain Dave Celep (5-18) and former Australia A paceman Mark Cameron (3-30) then combined to skittle Charlestown for 101.
Merewether did not lose a second-innings wicket in posting the 10 runs needed for victory.
Scott Sharma (72 not out) steered Wests to a thrilling one-wicket victory over Waratah at Waratah Oval.
Chasing 217, Wests slumped to 6-82 but Sharma figured in an 83-run seventh-wicket partnership with Anthony Hobson (54) to rescue the innings, then smacked the winning runs in the second-last over to take Wests to 9-221.
University’s match with Cardiff-Boolaroo at Cardiff Oval abandoned after the pitch had been left uncovered on Friday.