The Cessnock District Cricket Association’s John Bull Shield representative team got its title defence off in great fashion with a hard-fought three-wicket victory over Singleton at the weekend.
The match was transferred to Miller Park, Branxton, on Sunday as Singleton’s Cook Park turf wickets are still out of action with the recent floods.
Singleton won the toss, elected to bat, and posted a healthy 9-228 from their mandatory 50 overs.
Opener Brad Cox batted beautifully for his 97.
But, a rare miss saw the ball rap him on the pads and he was adjudged LBW just three runs shy of his ton.
He hit just the one boundary, however he cleared the fence on five occasions in a very technically correct knock.
Isaac Barry (33) carried on his good form from the day before, at the same arena, when he went agonisingly close to scoring a century.
Anthony Bailey was next best with 15.
Cessnock’s wickets were fairly evenly-distributed between Zach Sneesby (3-30 off 10), Zach Kronholm (2-44 off 8) and Jace Lawson (2-42 off 10).
The “home” side got off to a flyer in reply through openers Pete Brennan (53) and Drew Olsen (33).
Cessnock remained in front of the eight-ball throughout the innings, eventually surpassing the target with five overs to spare and three wickets left in the sheds.
Joey Main remained unbeaten on 51, with Reuben Andrews (27) the other main contributor.
Barton Jones bowled well for Singleton with 4-37 off 10.
Singleton will now take on Upper Hunter in the second round of the John Bull Shield competition on Sunday 13 February and must win to stay alive.
Meanwhile, Cessnock will enjoy that weekend off with the bye.
- Mark Bercini
Get all the latest Newcastle news, sport, entertainment, lifestyle, competitions and more delivered straight to your inbox with the Newcastle Weekly Daily Newsletter. Sign up here.