Maitland defeats Newcastle C&S to book spot in John Bull Shield final

Maitland delivered their most comprehensive performance of the series to defeat Newcastle C&S and book a spot in the John Bull Shield final.

After a slow start, courtesy of excellent Maitland bowling,  Newcastle batted well to post 7/245.

However, after a disappointing batting performance against Singleton in the previous round Maitland were determined not to make the same mistakes and reeled in the target with seven wickets in hand and more than eight overs to spare.

“It was a really good chase and to do it in the top five is how you want chases to go,” Maitland skipper Lincoln Mills said.

“We had good partnerships, which was the main thing. We weren’t losing two wickets at a time.

“Before the game I asked the guys to put value on their wicket and said if we do we’ll get the win.”

Mills led the run chase from the front scoring 90 which included 15 fours and three sixes.

Fellow opener Ricky Dent was out early for eight and star teenage No.3 Will Fort was trapped lbw for 17.

Matt Trappel joined Mills with the score on 3/64 and they combined for a 76-run partnership before Mills was caught.

Trappel finished unbeaten on 66, with Dan Willis not out 28.

Mills was also pick of the bowlers taking 3-38 from his 10 overs. Cael Smith claimed 2-45 from his 10 and Cal Gabriel and Cameron Bates picked up a wicket each.

Chris Diebert top scored for Newcastle with 70 and Hamish Bartlett made 58.

“We used the new ball really well. I thought the score they got was probably 50 below par on that wicket and that was probably due to the way we bowled in the first two sessions,” Mills said.

“We hit our areas really well early on, we used the grass on the wicket really well.

“They batted really well. A lot of times looking at that score it looks like we bowled poorly, but they batted really well.

“We stuck to our plans, a bit of execution at the end probably went astray but to keep them to 250 on a 300 par wicket I was really happy with.”

Mills said he was extremely proud of his team’s effort and the commitment shown by the players after a disappointing loss to Singleton.

“To be able to turn around such a poor performance last game to one of the most dominant I’ve been involved in was really refreshing and really good going into the final,” Mills said.

“Even the guys that didn’t bat or bowl, the fielding from them was exceptional. Daniel Foster was like a demon, the ball  followed him everywhere and he probably saved 20 runs himself.

“Those sort of efforts, that’s the standard you expect when you get picked in the rep team.

“It’s been a few years since we’ve won the shield. I said to the guys prior to the first game against Cessnock that I believed we are the best team in the Hunter Valley zone and it was about time we started proving it and winning the shield regularly.

“The boys showed today that they are willing to do what is required to do that. 

“Hopefully we can continue in that vain and come away with a win in a few weeks time.”

Maitland plays the winner of Cessnock and Singleton in the final on February 11.