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Coalfields Cup GF: Heavyweights eye off cricket glory

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It’s been a great second season of full home-and-away games in the seven-team Coalfields Cup cricket competition.

And, this weekend’s big showdown will see the two heavyweights from the Cessnock side of the joint format, which also features Singleton, slugging it out for bragging rights.

Minor premiers Greta-Branxton is desperate to claim back the trophy after its heart-breaking two-run loss to Valley/JPC in the 2022/23 decider.

They were first through to the grand final following an emphatic 54-run victory in the major semi against Valley/JPC a fortnight ago.

Piranhas/Bellbird, on the other hand, has come from third place to book its spot in the finale after they ended the same opponent in last weekend’s epic prelim showdown at Howe Park.

Greta-Branxton and Piranhas/Bellbird are vying for the Coalfields Cup this weekend. Photo: Rod Thompson

Greta-Branxton will look to skipper Joey Butler to lead from the front with the bat, along with Connor Thomson and dogged middle-order man Chris Murray.

Jace Lawson has had a stellar year with the four-piece, mixing it up between pace and spin… and taking regular wickets.

He will play a key role when the Blues are in the field, along with young seamer Patrick Andrews, who has evolved into a more than competent first-change bowler.

Meanwhile, newly-joint venture Piranhas/Bellbird is hoping to build its innings on the back of stalwarts Rob Drage and Jason Orr, along with captain Joey Main and Joey Barber.

Speedster Billy Orr will be determined to restrict runs early with the new ball, paving the way for their X-Factor Matt Hopley to weave his magic with the aging pill.

Picturesque Miller Park is the scene for this much-anticipated match and all cricketing fans are encouraged to come out and watch what should be a great contest between these two combatants.

Greta-Branxton will start slight favourites having defeated their Bellfish counterparts in their one and only meeting in 2023/24 to eventually take the minor shield.

However, the newest outfit is equally-keen to mirror the efforts of Valley/JPC by taking the Coalfields Cup home in its maiden season.

  • Mark Bercini

Coalfields Cup grand final

Greta-Branxton (1st) v Piranhas/Bellbird (3rd) 

(Saturday 16 March, 1pm start)

Miller Park, Branxton

Head-to-head this season: Played 2, Greta-Branxton 1, Abandoned 1

Greta-Branxton

  • Last season: Runner-up
  • Captain: Joey Butler
  • Premierships: CDCA 4 (2004-05, 2007-08, joint 2013-14, 2020-21), Coalfields Cup 1 (joint 2021-22)
  • Line-up: Mark Bercini, Connor Thomson, Joey Butler, Nathan Holz, Josh Dagg, Chris Murray, Brent Watson, Jace Lawson, Danial Foster, Jamie Moore, Jack Knight (wk), Patrick Andrews, Reuben Andrews
  • Key three: Joey Butler, Jace Lawson, Patrick Andrews
  • X-Factor: Connor Thomson

Piranhas/Bellbird

  • Last season: N/A
  • Captain: Joey Main/Luke Sweeney
  • Premierships: N/A
  • Line-up: Rob Drage, Joey Main, Jason Orr, Mark Crowfoot, Aaron Duffie, Joey Barber, Matt Hopley, Aaron Zechel, James Collins (wk), Luke Sweeney, Aaron Sweeney, Billy Orr
  • Key three: Rob Drage, Jason Orr, Billy Orr
  • X-Factor: Matt Hopley

Second grade

  • Bellbird (1st) v JPC (2nd) at Howe Park

Third grade

  • Valley (1st) v Hotel Cessnock (3rd) at Cook 3

Fourth grade

  • Wine Country (1st) v Hotel Cessnock (3rd) at Allandale

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