Belmont captain Marcus Hainsworth praised the maturity of 18-year-old Luke Muddle after the all-rounder hit his maiden top-grade century to give his side a chance of victory over Cardiff-Boolaroo on Saturday.
Muddle struck 12 fours and six sixes in a knock of 124 which started with his team at 5-41 at Cardiff No.2 on day one of the opening two-day round of the Newcastle district season.
Belmont recovered to post 244 before Daniel Bailey knocked over representative batsmen Rahul Bakshi and Nick Watkins to leave CBs 2-46. Muddle and Toby Gray (52) rescued Belmont with a 118-run stand to reach 5-160 before the No.7 finished an innings Hainsworth said was incredible.
“We were 4-11 on an absolute road,” Hainsworth said.
“We won the toss, and credit to their bowlers early, they bowled in the right area and we are probably lacking experience with Jesse [Major], Ray [Cooper] and Splinter [Mark Littlewood] not playing this year.
“Toby Gray got us out of trouble and then Luke played probably the innings of his life. I said to them after the game, it wasn’t a boy’s innings from either of them, it was man’s, first-grade innings, which is what we needed.
“I think a few of the Cardiff players probably thought they would be having a bat before lunch, but Luke really stood up.”
The skipper was impressed with the development of the Belmont junior, whose previous best score was 60.
“He saved us from an outright against Charlestown last year and got out with an over to go and he had a bit of a giggle when he got out,” he said. “Splinter ripped into him. Even though he saved us from an outright, he said to him that’s not how you approach first-grade cricket. You need to be not out.
“I think that gave him a wake-up call, that you’re not playing with boys anymore, you’re playing in the big leagues in first grade. And he’s also probably lacked opportunities, just with the guys we’ve had at the top of the order for so long.”
At Wallsend, the hosts are 1-80 chasing Waratah-Mayfield’s 216. James Beatty took 4-54 and skipper Nathan Price 2-31 off 20 overs for the Tigers. Scott Mackenzie (33) was the best for Waratah.
Skipper Adrian Chad led Toronto to 301 with a knock of 102 against Charlestown at Ron Hill Oval. Chad shared in a 113-run stand with Josh Westwood (53). Dylan Robertson (45) then steered the hosts past 300. Charlestown were 0-16 at stumps. Their best with the ball were Rory Maddison (4-62) and Bayley McGill (3-23).
Tim O’Neill top-scored at No.9 with an unbeaten 88 off 93 balls as Merewether made 9-318 against Newcastle City at Townson Oval. Simon Moore (85) led the way early. Sam O’Sullivan took 5-77 for the visitors.
At Harker Oval, Joey Price took 7-49 and hit 52 not out as Wests dismissed Hamilton-Wickham for 214 and reached 1-62. Tom Dwyer (50) was Hamwicks’ best.
University scored 256 against Stockton thanks to Mitch Lole (95) and Andrew Harriott (70). Stockton were 1-22 in reply at Uni No.1.