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GALLERY: Cessnock stumps rivals to win John Bull Shield

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Cessnock is the John Bull Shield (JBS) representative cricket champion following an emphatic four-wicket victory over Newcastle Suburban District in the final at Lorn Park on Sunday.

It was the 10th time the silverware made its way to the “Coalfields”, with the lead-up to the match not without its interruptions either.

Leading batsman Jason Orr was forced to withdraw from the fixture at late notice, and skipper Joey Butler was also in doubt with his wife expecting their first new-born at any tick of the clock.

But, things fell into place nicely, and these minor hiccups failed to dampen the spirit of the Cessnock side as it rallied to a hard-fought victory in front of a healthy crowd at the picturesque venue.

Suburban District won the toss and elected to bat first, with the Cessnock new-ball bowlers Brent Watson and Zach Sneesby keeping a lid on things early on to gain the ascendency.

The minor premiers recovered from 3-24 to post a competitive 175 having being bowled out in the third last of the 50-over contest.

Jarrod Moxey played an almost single hand with a well-constructed 84.

Cessnock’s bowlers all chipped in where needed, with Matt Hopley (3-30 off 10), Watson (2-17 off 9.2), Fletcher Sharpe (2-24 off 5), Sneesby (1-43 off 9), Cameron Ross (1-23 off 10) and Patrick Andrews (1-25 off 5) sharing the wickets.

Hopley was also in the action with a brilliant one-handed catch at first slip to dismiss the dangerous Moxey, who was closing in on a ton, with Sam Peacock also taking a sharp chance at backward point.

The Cessnock openers got off to a steady by solid start in reply, but the loss of Drew Olsen (15) and Jason Varoxis (18), and then Butler (17) shortly after, appeared to swing the momentum back into Suburban’s favour.

The team was 5-86 in the 30th over and the match hung in balance.

But, unfazed were the youthful 16-year-old pairing of Sharp and Peacock, whose 80-run sixth wicket stand all but won the game for Cessnock.

The former was dismissed for a superbly made 66 with just 10 runs required for victory in what was a very mature knock under pressure from the Piranhas’ all-rounder.

Fellow Piranha Hopley came to the crease and cut the ribbon with 12 not out, including a big maximum over cow corner to put the issue beyond doubt.

Peacock remained unbeaten on 25 in what was an equally important innings in the context of the game.

Butler praised the feats of the youth in his side.

“For these young fellas today Fletch (Sharpe) and Sammy (Peacock) to bat the way they did – unbelievable,” he said.

“The team stuck together all year, we only used 18 players throughout the comp.

“The future of Cessnock cricket is in good hands.” 

Celebrations continued well on into the night.

The team consisted of Joey Butler (c, Greta/Branxton), Drew Olsen (Mulbring), Jason Varoxis (Mulbring), Cameron Ross (Mulbring), Fletcher Sharpe (Piranhas), Mark Crowfoot (Piranhas), Sam Peacock (Wine Country), Matt Hopley (Piranhas), Reuben Andrews (Greta/Branxton), Brent Watson (Greta/Branxton), Patrick Andrews (Greta/Branxton), Zach Sneesby (Mulbring), Greg Andrews (manager/coach).

Other players used throughout the competition were Jason Orr (Bellbird), Connor Thomson (Greta/Branxton), Hudson Smith (Wine Country), Rob Sidebottom (Wine Country), Mark Bercini (Greta/Branxton) and Luke Sweeney (Piranhas).

  • by Mark Bercini

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