Cricket: Newcastle captain Mark Littlewood scores century at NSW Country Championships | photos

A captain’s knock from Mark Littlewood has put Newcastle on the front foot after the opening day of the NSW Country Championships in Inverell.

Littlewood made an unbeaten 116 from 124 balls, hitting six fours and five sixes along the way, in guiding Newcastle to a 59-run victory over Central North at Varley Oval on Friday.  

Batting at No.3 the Belmont all-rounder put on a 142-run second-wicket stand with opener and Wallsend marquee Nathan Price, who struck 13 boundaries in his 87 from 100 deliveries.

“They both batted really well and set it up nicely for us,” Newcastle representative coach Shane Burley said.

Newcastle’s 50-over total of 8-274 eventually proved too much for Central North, who were restricted to 7-215 with Simon Norvill (55), former University batsman Aaron Mahony (52) and Hamilton-Wickham skipper Josh Trappel (42) the best in a beaten side. 

Pat Darwen, named in the Australian Country XI last season, claimed two wickets for Newcastle while Central North’s Lincoln Mills and Daniel Willis shared four between them.  

“Our bowlers managed a lot of dots which helped us,” Burley said. “We picked up the bonus point as well, which is really important.”

Newcastle now meets first round losers North Coast in Saturday’s second round fixture at the same venue while Central North tackle Western at McCosker Park No.1.  

Western (9-243) beat North Coast (134) on Friday.