A century by Western Suburbs batsman Aaron Mahony and a five-wicket haul by Eastern Suburbs' all-rounder Josh Hicks delivered their teams wins in the opening round of Maitland and District Cricket on Saturday.
Raymond Terrace recorded a 12-run win against Northern Suburbs at Lork Park despite Norths all-rounder Jordan Callinan claiming 5-29 and making 31.
Wests v Thornton
“It was a pleasure to watch,” West Suburbs joint skipper Tom Irwin said of his star No.3 Aaron Mahony’s match winning 134 which delivered the Plovers their first win since early February.
“Aaron was sensational, he was just hitting everything so sweetly. He got great support from Luke as well.”
Mahony and Merchant (69) delivered the bulk of Wests 5/272, with Irwin’s opening partner Andrew Trappel compiling 31 and Tom Rumble scoring seven.
“To be honest I think we were all a bit nervous going into the season, just wanting to get things back on track after a disappointing season and wanting to get a win,” Irwin said.
“I didn’t get us off to a good start going cheaply, but it did mean I got to watch Azzer’s whole innings in comfort.”
Merchant and joint-captain Mitch Fisher made early inroads claiming Thornton’s openers for just one run between them. Teenage spinner Glyn Hayes and Luke Kealy were the chief wicket takers with three each.
“Glyn got his first wicket in first grade and finished with three along with Luke Kealy. They both bowled very well, we were all wrapped for Glyn,” Irwin said.
Former Wests all-round Blake Walmsely (23) and Daniel Willis (47) steadied the top-order, but despite a terrific captain’s knock of 65 by Jake Moore the total was too big for Thornton.
Norths v Raymond Terrace
Raymond Terrace’s bowlers were the heroes as they ensured 176 was a winning total against last season’s minor premiers Northern Suburbs.
Norths bowled the Lions out for 176 in the 44th over with opener Shannon Bills top scoring with 77 and Jaymes Thomas posting 45.
Both fell to Jordan Callinan who finished with the excellent figures of 5-29, with fast-bowling duo Lincoln Mills and new recruit from Singleton Cael Smith both claiming two wickets.
Callinan backed up with the bat making 31. Luke Stewart top scored with 51
“We were just outplayed really,” Norths skipper Michael Wilson said. “They bowled better than we did in partnerships.”
The Lions shared the wickets around. former Kurri Weston paceman Cameron Bates was best with 3-35.
”Batesy will add a fair bit to their bowling line-up,” Wilson said.
Kurri Weston v Eastern Suburbs
A five-wicket haul and a quick-fire 29 by Josh Hicks helped Eastern Suburbs to start the 2017-18 season with a 116-run win against Kurri Weston at Kurri Central on Saturday.
Hicks clubbed 29 as an opener and then ripped through Kurri Weston’s middle and lower order as the Warriors were all out for 96 chasing Easts 7/212.
Easts captain Andrew Vickery was delighted with the opening-round victory but even more pleased with how the team had gelled.
“There were a few new faces in the line-up with Jack Bennett coming across from Kurri Weston and Jayden Park and Lucas Sargent returning from playing in the Sydney and Newcastle comps,” he said.
“It was really great fun, it was a really enjoyable day of cricket.
It was a good all round match by Josh, he took a couple of catches as well as getting runs and a five-for.
“Jack Bennett took a screamer to get Daniel Foster out after he had hit a giant six.
“The way we started we probably were on target for 250. I thought we were probably a bit short, but 212 is not a bad score on the opening day with a couple of good partnerships along the way.”
Jack Stoneman anchored the innings with 44 and there were good contributions from Park, 40, and Vickery 33.
Dallas Crane finished with 3-16 knocking over Kurri Weston’s top three and Brendan Allan and Park got one each.
For Kurri Weston Alex Seamer finished with 3-55, Josh Stockwell snared 2-34. Casey Capper scored 23 and Tim Harding was 16no.