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Cessnock rep skipper keen to end JBS title drought

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Cessnock District Cricket Association is hoping to end a four-season drought and reclaim the John Bull Shield (JBS) against Suburban Districts in this weekend’s final.

And, senior representative captain Joey Butler believes he has the perfect line-up to do just that when the two combatants lock horns at Lorn Park on Sunday 7 February from 10am.

Even after the Newcastle-based squad defeated Cessnock by five wickets at East End earlier in the tournament.

“We’ve learnt from that loss,” Butler said.

“I think we made about 200 [on the day] but only batted 40 overs.

“It’s imperative the boys stay in until the 50th and, to be honest, I don’t think we’ve done it in 2020-21.

“We need to do that to put ourselves in the game.

“Bat first – and post a massive total.

“Then our bowlers can take care of the rest.”

Butler, who also leads Greta/Branxton in the weekly club competition, admitted he was feeling “pretty confident” heading into the showdown.

“It’s one of the best years we’ve had in a while,” he said.

“And, if we all do our job this weekend, we’ll win for sure.

“We’ve got a great side; however, we haven’t really shown that on the field yet.

“I’m expecting the experienced blokes to come to the fore when it counts.

“Suburban Districts is a strong outfit.

“They have not lost a match, although they tied with Upper Hunter.

“But, we boast the firepower to upset them.”

Cessnock last held aloft the John Bull Shield in 2016-17.

Now, Butler is keen to ensure his players enjoy that triumphant feeling again.

“It’s definitely motivating us,” he said.

“A few guys, who played in that final, are really keen – and that’s rubbed off on the rest of the group.

“We’ve been fortunate to have 18 to 20 blokes to select from every game.

“And, they’ve all had something to do with our success this season.

“It’s certainly made it hard to pick the starting 12.

“It is a tight bunch of boys, who continually support each other.

“So, we know we’ll have at least half a dozen spectators at Lorn Park on Sunday,” he added with a laugh.

  • Cessnock (squad): Joey Butler (c, Greta/Branxton), Jason Orr (Bellbird), Drew Olsen (Mulbring), Cameron Ross (Mulbring), Fletcher Sharpe (Piranhas), Matt Hopley (Piranhas), Mark Crowfoot (Piranhas), Sam Peacock (Wine Country), Jason Varoxis (Mulbring), Brent Watson (Greta/Branxton), Patrick Andrews (Greta/Branxton), Zach Sneesby (Mulbring)

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