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Waratah-Mayfield imports keen to stump Merewether in Edwards Gilmour Cup

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They might be imports in 2023/24 but Waratah-Mayfield’s English duo still recognise the importance of a local grudge match.

That’s why Nico Reifer, who hails from Surrey, and Norfolk’s Joe Everett will lead the Newcastle District Cricket Association (NDCA) organisation into the eagerly-awaited Edwards Gilmour Cup clash with Merewether this weekend.

The long-time foes face off in a showdown, named after former Australian Test all-rounder Gary’s son Sam – who played for both clubs – at Townson Oval on Saturdays 6 and 13 January.

Adding to the prestige of the Edwards Gilmour Cup is the fact all four grades play a vital role in who wins the silverware overall.

Promising young batsman Nico Reifer is a smash hit at Waratah-Mayfield this season. Photo: Rod Thompson

“I’ve heard Gary’s and Sam’s names mentioned once or twice, so I know how important this game is for Waratah-Mayfield,” Reifer said.

“Obviously, any rivalry in club cricket is a big thing.

“There are bragging rights involved, too, so you want to win the derby.

“And, because Australians are so competitive, I’m sure the boys will be up for it,” he added with a wide grin.

Reifer and Everett enter the fray with form on the board.

Although Charlestown thumped Waratah-Mayfield in the previous round, the 23-year-old Barbadian smashed 42 and 47 in his two innings.

Everett, on the other hand, claimed 4-54 with the ball.

“Every batsman wants to score more runs, but I’ve been reasonably happy with my own form,” Reifer said.

“I have had some good starts.

“However, I’m hopeful of putting together a big knock very soon, so I can help Waratah-Mayfield win more matches.”

I got contacted over winter asking if I wanted to come back and play some stuff in the 50-over competition, as well as the West Indies Academy.

Nico Reifer

Reifer admitted he was keen to test himself away from home, after making his List A, first class and T20 Blast debuts in recent seasons.

“Actually, I was trying to avoid the cold and the wet in England,” he laughed.

“Seriously, it’s a better competition over here, in my opinion.

“Some players might see it differently.

“A few might prefer to stay indoors or spend extra time with the family over winter.

“But, I’d rather go outside, get away from the cold and experience a different set-up overseas.

“It’s all part of the learning curve.

“I remember someone telling me years ago that cricket is dissimilar everywhere – from the challenges to the grounds and the pitches, all of it.

“Along the way, you also meet diverse people or others who do something out of the ordinary.

“It doesn’t matter what level of cricket they play.

“There’s a possibility you can pick up that one thing that changes your game completely.

“I’m really enjoying my time at Waratah-Mayfield, I’m settling in well.

“They are a bunch of good people, who are looking after me.

“We’ve won a couple of matches since I’ve been here, too.

“So, hopefully, we’re on the right path for more success.”

Although Reifer has ventured to Australia before, this is his first stint in Newcastle.

“To be honest, there’s not much difference between the sport here or back home,” he said.

“Because what I’ve realised around the world, I’ve played a bit of cricket in Barbados as well, is that all three competitions are pretty much alike.

“Everywhere, it’s similar blokes just putting in the work during the week to try and win on the Saturday… and people of all different age groups coming together.”

What separates Reifer from the others, apparently, is he’s already attracted the attention of the West Indian selectors.

And, he’s a strong chance of a call-up in the near future.

“I got contacted over winter asking if I wanted to come back and play some stuff in the 50-over competition, as well as the West Indies Academy,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“However, at the moment, I’d rather just stick with county stuff.

“If I return and play in the West Indies, I can’t do that anymore.

“So, for me, it’s a big decision.

“Obviously, I’m still quite young, so I’ll put that on hold for the time being.

“In the meantime, I’m trying to win as many games as I can for Waratah-Mayfield.

“Winning is a nice feeling; it makes the drinks on Saturday taste a lot better.

“But, we’ve also got a young side, so I’m trying to be that kind of leader in the group, because I have a lot of experience to guide the players and some of the senior ones.

“Guys come up to me and ask a few questions.

“I’m happy to help and share my knowledge with them.”

Joe Everett is hoping to claim a big haul of wickets for Waratah-Mayfield this weekend. Photo: Rod Thompson

Twenty-four-year-old Everett, who plays for the Barton Wanderers, has also found his way to Waratah-Mayfield.

“It was just sort of a late decision to be fair, but I’m really enjoying it,” he said.

“Everyone’s welcomed me to the fold.

“I recently graduated from university and wanted to come over and play some cricket.

“It was a great chance to explore a bit of Australia, too, while I still can.

“And, Newcastle seemed like a good spot.

“They’ve got a young squad here and I’ve fitted in nicely, it’s been fun.”

Although Everett is still adjusting to the conditions in the Hunter.

“It’s a little bit different [over here] and I’ve had to make a couple of changes,” he admitted.

“There’s a lot more pace and carry in these decks, a little less swing.

“So, I have adapted, by altering my length.

“I’m getting used to it now.

“But, it’s all part of the experience.

“I’ve got ambitions to play the highest level I can, whether that be minor county, Second XI Championship or Country Championship.

“This is sort of a stepping stone to achieve that goal, playing cricket all-year round and testing myself in different conditions.

“I think it’ll help me progress and put me in good stead for when I return home in summer.”

Newcastle District Cricket Association

(Round nine – Saturdays 6 and 13 January)

  • Wallsend v University (Wallsend Park/Oval 1 – George Farley Oval)
  • Belmont v Stockton & Northern Districts (Cahill Oval)
  • Merewether v Waratah-Mayfield (Townson Oval)
  • Charlestown v Wests (Kahibah Oval)
  • Hamilton-Wickham v Newcastle City (Passmore Oval)
  • Cardiff-Boolaroo v Toronto Workers (Pasterfield Sports Complex)

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