The Bellbird Workers Cricket Club is in celebration mode after securing the inaugural Coalfields Cup, at the expense of Valley, at Branxton’s Miller Park at the weekend.
The trophy made its way to the western suburbs of Cessnock for the first time when the Tigers disposed of the Singleton heavyweights by 101 runs in a lop-sided affair on Sunday.
“This feels pretty special winning the maiden competition,” Bellbird skipper Rob Drage stated after the victory.
“We have a young side and we’ve gained some momentum off some good performances.”
Valley skipper Jacob Carey won the toss and, with a little moisture in the deck after a week of rain, he asked Bellbird to have a bat first.
The minor premiers lost competition leading runscorer Jason Orr in the opening over.
But, a fighting 76-run second wicket stand between Joey Barber (63) and Ben Fairlie (29) got the innings back on track.
At the drinks interval, Bellbird was 1-72.
The team continued to accumulate at a productive rate to eventually close its innings at a competitive 9-170.
Matt Schrieber (23) and Drage (16) were the other main contributors.
Tristan Muir (3-43 off 10) and Brendan Nichols (2-33 off 10) were the pick of the Valley attack.
The Singleton outfit, who was the only club to defeat Bellbird throughout the tournament, saved its worst batting performance for the finale.
They were dismissed inside 26 overs for just 69, with Nichols (27), Tully Winsor (14) and Nathan Bagnall (11) the only willow-men to reach double figures.
Barber completed a man-of-the-match performance for the Tigers with 4-23 off eight to add to his fine half-century earlier in the day.
Billy Orr supported well with 3-16.
“It was always tough when you lose your best batsman in the opening over but the way Benny (Fairlie) and Joey batted today proved it was about accumulating the score,” Drage added in his victory speech.
“170 felt like 200 today.
“As for the bowling, the stats speak for themselves.”
On a brighter note for Valley, tournament instigator Daniel Storey reached a rare milestone by playing his 300th game for the club.
Bellbird’s Jason Orr was named player of the competition after scoring two centuries and a couple of 50s on the way to amassing 423 runs at an average of 70.50.
Coalfields Cup final
Bellbird Workers 9-170 (Joseph Barber 63, Ben Fairlie 29, Matt Schrieber 23, Joseph Barber 4-23, Billy Orr 3-16) defeated Valley 69 (Brendan Nichols 23, Tully Winsor 14, Tristan Muir 3-43, Brendan Nichols 2-23)
- by Mark Bercini