It’s been a cracking start to the Cessnock District Cricket Association season for the Bellbird Workers… and the club is hoping it stays that way ahead of the upcoming play-offs.
Already in 2020-21, Bellbird’s claimed the inaugural Coalfields Cup and shared the honours with the Wine Country Wood Ducks in the Tier One T20 competition after rain ended the recent grand final early.
But, with those formats now out of the way, the organisation is turning its attention to the 40-over game when it resumes on Saturday 6 February.
Bellbird faces Wine Country again, this time at Allandale Oval, while Greta/Braxton meets the Piranhas at Miller 1 and Mulbring enjoys the bye.
Inspirational skipper Rob Drage admitted things were shaping up well for the team, with only five rounds remaining.
“Our side shouldn’t change a lot for the rest of the season,” he said.
“It’ll just be the normal work-related issues that every club has.
“However, we need to focus on the Wood Ducks first.
“Wine Country boasts some young guys who’ve come through their system and they’re now really starting to have an impact.
“They also have a bit of experience.
“They’re coming off some recent good wins in the T20 and made the semis in the Coalfields Cup, too, so we’ll be wary of them.”
Luckily for Drage, he has a few handy cricketers – and strong form – at his disposal as well.
“Benny, Jason and Joseph Main have impressed with the bat,” he said.
“Zac Kronholm’s s been outstanding with the ball and received terrific support from Joseph Barber.
“I’m very happy with the year so far.
“I mentioned after the [Coalfields] Cup win that we’d enjoyed some good victories early, which built our confidence and created some momentum.
“We’ve also managed to remain relatively unchanged throughout – which has been helpful, too.
“But, with the finals just around the corner, things can change quickly.
“I think every side is capable of beating anyone at the moment.
“We’ll just be trying to remain consistent.”
So, which club poses the biggest danger to Bellbird?
“That’s easy,” Drage said.
“Mulbring has won the past five premierships with pretty much the same core of players that they currently have.
“Need I say any more?”
2020-21 weekend draw
(Saturday 6 February):
First grade (round five): Greta/Branxton v Piranhas (Miller 1), Wine Country v Bellbird Workers (Allandale Oval), Mulbring bye
Second grade (round 11): Piranhas v Bellbird Workers (East End Oval), Greta/Branxton v Chelmsford Hotel (Miller 2), Wine Country bye
Third grade (round 11): Bellbird Workers v Piranhas (Carmichael 1), Mulbring v Greta/Branxton (Mulbring), Wine Country Blue v Wine Country White (Baddeley Park – Oval 1)
Fourth grade (round 11): Bellbird Workers Maroon v Chelmsford Hotel (Carmichael 2), Wine Country v Greta/Branxton Blue (St Philips), Hotel Cessnock v Bellbird Workers White (Drain Oval), Greta/Branxton White v Supporters (Baddeley 2), Piranhas bye
2020-21 points tables:
First grade: Greta/Branxton 24, Bellbird 22, Wine Country 18, Mulbring 14, Piranhas 14
Second grade: Chelmsford Hotel 47**, Wine Country 43**, Bellbird 35**, Greta/Branxton 35**, Piranhas 26**
* byes received, 0 points allocated
Third grade: Bellbird 50, Wine Country White 50, Piranhas 47, Wine Country Blue 45, Greta/Branxton 43, Mulbring 39
Fourth grade: Chelmsford Hotel 51*, Bellbird White 50*, Greta/Branxton Blue 49*, Bellbird Maroon 47*, Cessnock Hotel 42*, Wine Country 35**, Piranhas 31*, Greta/Branxton White 31*, Supporters 31*
* byes received, 0 points allocated
Club championship: Greta/Branxton 385.00, Bellbird 381.50, Wine Country 371.00, Piranhas 276.50
Club championship formula: first grade x 7, second grade x 3.5, third grade x 1.4, fourth grade x 0.7