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Pythons, Mudrats to fight out Suburban Districts decider


And, then, there were two teams left standing in the Newcastle District Cricket Association’s (NDCA) Suburban Districts division one competition.

Following a season full of COVID-19 and weather disruptions, the Port Stephens Pythons and Mary Ellen Mudrats will fight it out for the 2021-22 title on Saturday 26 March at a venue yet to be decided.

“It’s fitting those sides are meeting in the decider,” NDCA secretary Aaron Gray said.

“They finished first and second on the ladder, so it highlights the importance of putting in the hard work [during the year] and securing as high a spot on the points table as possible.

“Also, the Pythons claimed the minor premiership while the Mudrats are the defending champions.

“It should be a very entertaining encounter.”

The Pythons eliminated Wests Water Board by five wickets at King Park at the weekend.

After being sent into bat, the “underdogs” started solidly to reach 3-100, thanks to Mitch Kroehnert (35), Jack Taylor (25), Nick Dimmers (25 not out) and Jacob Rippon (20).

But, Water Board fell away dramatically, losing 6-41, to post 9-141.

Lleyton Eveleigh was the destroyer with the ball, collecting 4-12.

Jason Eveleigh and Jeremy Kirk chipped in with 2-24 and 2-51 respectively.

Opener Leigh Williams led the charge in reply.

He smashed 89 from 86 balls, clobbering eight boundaries and four sixes in the process.

That knock, and handy contributions from Jarrod Moxey (14) and Josh Moxey (12), laid the platform for the Pythons to reach 5-143 in the 36th over.

Water Board’s Michael Rippon took 2-34.

In the other semi-final at Connolly Park, the Mudrats accounted for Wests Journeymen by a similar margin.

But, this fixture went right down to the wire.

After slipping to 4-26, the Journeymen rallied brilliantly to compile 8-172 with Scott Shephard (44), Paul Gauci (44) and Sam Verschoor (23) leading the revival.

Lucas Sneddon bagged 3-24, Callan Beamish snared 2-26 and Brendan Frost captured 2-48.

The Mudrats suffered an early blow, losing Luke Evans, to be 1-1.

However, captain Cameron Roxby, Joshua Forsyth (58) and Jaren Owen (22) steadied the ship.

With the match supposedly well in hand, Mary Ellen then endured a mini collapse, 3-10, to slump to 5-159, giving the Journeymen a slight glimmer of hope.

But, Roxby, with an unbeaten 66, and Josh Bennett (4 not out) guided the team to victory with five balls to spare.

Simon Knight collected 3-24.

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