Northern Suburbs all-rounder Lincoln Mills put Western Suburbs to the sword with an awesome display of controlled aggression with the bat on Saturday.
Mills compiled a career best 175, from just 131 balls, which included 27 fours and four sixes as Norths batting line-up finally clicked as a unit amassing 4/407 to allow skipper Mike Wilson to declare in the 60th over.
In the end it was an outstanding piece of wicket-keeping which finally claimed Mills wicket with a lightning quick stumping by Tony Fuller off the bowling of Josh Fisher.
Fuller played a hand in all four wickets collecting three catchings and the stumping.
Facing 20 overs, Wests looked to have negotiated the tricky period well until skipper Tom Irwin was dismissed late for the Plovers to close the day on 3/58.
Mills continued his day out finishing with 1/5 off two overs as Tim Field and Logan Smith picked up a wicket each.
Irwin was bitterly disappointed to lose his wicket late and conceded his side needed to knuckle down and bat for as long as possible to avoid an outright loss.
He said Mills’ innings was one of the best he had seen in the Maitland competition.
“Unfortunately, we were on the receiving end of it. He took his time at the start to settle in and then just unleashed against us,” Irwin said.
Mills said the wicket was fantastic and a delight to bat on.
“There was a little bit of moisture on it from the rain during the week, but once you were in it was a really good wicket to bat on.
“Wests were down on a few troops but it was nice to go on with it.
“I've made a few hundreds in the past but never really been able to kick on to make a big one so it was nice from that perspective.
“It was nice to spend a fair bit of time in the middle with Mitch Nolan and Logan Smith.
“That was the second 100 partnership we’ve put on for this season.
“To see those guys make their way in the team and really own their first grade positions is more rewarding to me than anything.
“Especially with Logan getting a 70, he only got out doing an unselfish act at the end pushing for runs.
“He is going really well.”
Nolan made 140 in an opening stand of 130 with Mills. Smith made 71 in a 128-run partnership with Mills before MIlls was out with the score on 2/268.
Ben and Matt Sudgen were the unbeatn batsman on 31 and 42 respectively.
Mills said it was important for the senior players to lead the way and take advantage of opportunities to score.
“It’s no secret we’re a bit down on batters this year, so it is up to the more experienced players to put a bit more value on their wicket.”