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Coalfields Cup set for enthralling finish

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Excitement is high within Cessnock and Singleton cricketing circles, with the 2022/23 Coalfields Cup set for an enthralling finish.

Six combatants remain in contention for semi-final spots heading into the final round this weekend.

PCH maintained second position on the ladder following a great run chase against the Piranhas at East End on Saturday.

In pursuit of 197 for victory, the visitors achieved the target in the last over with four wickets in hand in what was a great contest.

With the Cox brothers Brad (24) and Jackson (10) going relatively cheaply, Dan Oldknow held the innings together with an unbeaten 81 at a run-a-ball.

Jake Daniels (18), Evan Moss (17) and Mason Knodler (12no) were the other willowmen to make an impression on the scorecard.

Piranhas skipper Luke Sweeney (4-31 off 8) and brother Aaron (2-19 off 8) were the pick of the bowlers.

Earlier in the day, the side was all out in the 38th over for 196, with the master blaster Matt Hopley returning to form with 82 from just 40 deliveries.

He received terrific support at the other end from Mark Crowfoot (56), who notched a fine half century.

Club president Tom Lantry took on the new ball once again for a patient 18.

Knodler (2-25 off 6), Barton Jones (2-26 off 7.3), Oldknow (2-50 off 8) and Daniels (2-47 off 5) shared the scalps for the visitors.

The important win now means PCH just needs to get the victory against cellar dwellers Glendon in the final round to finish in second, ensuring them an important spot in the major semi-final, where they would take on Valley/JPC for a place in the premiership decider.

Creeks kept its play-off hopes alive with a hard-fought five-wicket triumph over Wine Country at Allandale.

The Wood Ducks batted first and battled to a modest 9-150 from their 40 overs.

Skipper Andrew Fensom led the way with 31, opener Matt Lightfoot was next best with 26, with veteran Brendan Briedenhann (22no) and Rob Sidebottom (18) productive in the lower order.

Nathan Stapleford was Creeks’ best with 3-27 off eight, with Dan Tracey (2-20 off 8), Blake Cook (2-33 off 8) and Macauley Johnsson (2-22 off 5) picking up a brace of wickets each.

The Singleton outfit achieved the target in the 37th over after losing five poles.

Chris Unicomb (56) made a neat half century at the top of the order, with Gavin Quirk (31) and the Cook brothers, Blake (12no) and Myles (11), completing the task.

Briedenhann capped a fine all-round game for the Wood Ducks with 3-24 off eight, with Ben Wood taking 2-36.

Valley/JPC wrapped up the minor premiership in a reduced overs match against Bellbird at Cook 3.

Bellbird made 9-200 batting first, with Matt Thomson continuing on from where he left off the week before with an entertaining 67 not out.

Nic Siers (28), Rob Drage (25), Jason Orr (20) and Joey Barber (18) all scored freely, while for Valley/JPC Brandon Carmen (4-13 off 6), Luke Dempster (2-42 off 7) and Isaac Barry (2-48 off 7) took wickets.

The home side reached the revised Duckworth/Lewis target of 187 in the 31st over with four scalps in hand.

Carman completed a man-of-the-match performance with 54.

Meanwhile, Shane Givney (36), Liam Storey (32), Daniel Storey (17no) and Barry (14) did enough to secure the minor premiership.

Zac Kronholm was the Tigers’ best with the four-piece, taking 2-26 off 6.3.

Greta/Branxton leap-frogged Bellbird into third position following a comfortable nine-wicket victory over Glendon at picturesque Howe Park.

Glendon was restricted to 111 batting first, with skipper Jack Turner (19), Beau Parnell (16), Daniel Higgins (16) and Kyle Bailey (16) making starts.

Brent Watson (3-16 off 8) and Patrick Andrews (3-21 off 8) took a treble of wickets each for Greta/Branxton, with Mitch Casey (2-24 off 8) and Alex Walkling (2-28 off 7.4) supporting nicely.

The Blues reeled in the target just shy of the second drinks interval after losing just the one pole, with Mark Bercini (60no) and Josh Dagg (35no) getting the job done.

Clancy Cameron (1-16 off 3) was the sole wicket taker for Glendon.

The scene is now set for an exciting final round of competition this weekend, where every match will have a bearing on the make-up of the semi-finals which start on Saturday 4 March.

  • Mark Bercini
  • Coalfields Cup (points table): Valley/JPC 60 (NRR 1.50), PCH 51 (0.25), Greta/Branxton 45 (0.82), Bellbird 42 (0.16), Creeks 40 (-0.12), Wine Country 39 (-0.03), Piranhas 21 (-1.28), Glendon 16 (-1.14)

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