Teenage cricket stars Matt Lynch and Will Fort scored tons to lead their teams to important victories in Saturday’s round 10 of Maitland first grade cricket.
Northern Suburbs all-rounder Fort turned the game in the field with a sensational direct-hit run out to dismiss Western Suburbs co-skipper Tom Irwin and halt the Plovers’ momentum towards a total of 250-plus.
The 16-year-old, who represented the Australian under-17 XI at the under-19 national titles, then scored 102 not out to steer Norths to 8/197 as they chased down Wests’ total of 196 with two overs to spare.
It was his second first grade ton of the season, following his 105 against Easts in round eight to help set up an outright victory.
Eastern Suburbs youngster Lynch scored his debut first grade century smashing 17 fours and seven sixes in his score of 136 against Kurri Weston.
Still playing under-16s this season, he shared a 157-run partnership with Griffins skipper Jack Bennett (66) and was eventually out with the score on 250 as Easts posted 6/260.
Easts bowlers completed the job dismissing Kurri Weston for 100 in the 19th overs. Their fist win since round three in late October leaves them equal on 24 points with fourth-placed City United.
Raymond Terrace maintained top spot on 45 points, one point clear of Norths, with a 30-run win against Thornton claiming the final eight wickets for just 20 runs.
Terrace and Norths, who both have a bye to come, have virtually assured themselves of a place in the finals, with their nearest rival Western Suburbs on 26 points in third effectively three games behind.
Terrace all-rounder Nick Savage said the remaining the two spots were still very much up for grabs with four teams in contention.
“You’d probably favour City and Wests to get up given their history, but no one will be surprised if Thornton makes it and Easts have put themselves right back in the mix with their win on Saturday,” he said.
Thornton were cruising at 2-160 chasing Raymond Terraces’ 7/213, but lost their next eight wickets for 23 runs to fall 30 runs short.
“That’s probably the biggest collapse I’ve seen in a game I’m involved in,” Savage said.
“Jamie Krake had batted really well for them scoring 80 and they only needed 50 odd to win.
“We kept on saying to the boys to stick at it as a wicket can turn things around.”
After success previously at Thornton No.1, Terrace skipper Steve Smith turned to Jaymes Thomas who found the conditions to his liking once more taking 4-38, with Savage claiming 4-34.
Earlier, Giles Manly gave Terrace a solid start scoring a rapid 42, but they were in trouble at 5-76 before John Halloran (44), Joey Harden (47 retired) and Savage (27) stepped up.
There were wickets falling around him and it could have been very easy for a 16-year-old to lose his way a bitNorths skipper Michael Wilson on Will Fort's 102 not out
Norths v Wests
Will Fort showed why is part of Australian under-17 team with an outstanding individual performance for Norths against Wests on Saturday turning the game twice in his team’s favour with a crucial run out and scoring an unbeaten ton after Norths had slumped to 4-20.
“There were wickets falling around him and it could have been very easy for a 16-year-old to lose his way a bit,” Norths skipper Michael Wilson said
“It was just an exceptionally mature innings. He just built it patiently, he never looked in any trouble and hit the accelerator button when he needed to.”
Fort and Wilson (41) combined for 90, Jordan Callinan made 27 and No.9 Ben Sayers stuck around with Fort to get Norths home.
A big-hitting 65 by Justin Lantry got Wests off to a flyer and they were 0-87 after 15 overs. Irwin took up Lantry’s role and with Aaron Mahony at the other end a score of 250-plus was on the cards.
“Will’s direct-hit run out by to get Tom Irwin out proved pivotal and we took the last eight wickets for 92 which was great,” Wilson said.
“Ben Sayers (2-45) and Cael Smith (2-25) bowled exceptionally well. Jordan Callinan took 2-41 and I got two wickets at the end.
“It was a really gutsy win by us as we were massively under the pump in the field and with the bat and we still managed to get away with the win.
Easts v Kurri Weston
Matt Lynch’s maiden first grade century set up a big win for Eastern Suburbs who posted 6/260 and then dismissed Kurri Weston for 100 in 19 overs.
“Matty Lynch made a chanceless 136, he was brilliant. He set us every very well and once he got to his 100 he started punishing the bowlers at will,” teammate Andrew Vickery said.
“Matty and Jack Bennett (66) played very well together. They took us from 51 to 208.”
Brendan Allen took 4-19, Trent Park 3-13 and Lachlan Whishart 4-31 to share the wickets for East.
“Anything that was short on the pitch sat up to be hit for a big six, so we tried to get our boys to bowl as full as possible and it worked for us,” Vickery said.