Newcastle has claimed a 15th McDonald’s Country Championship title after beating Central Coast in the final at Bowral’s historic Bradman Oval.
It was the second successive year that Central Coast has been beaten in the final. Having scored a competitive 8/234 in the 50 overs, Newcastle finished with 7/235, winning by three wickets with 13 balls to spare in a fluctuating, high quality final.
After winning the toss and bowling, Newcastle appeared headed for another title after reducing the Central Coast to 4-68.
However, consistent batting right down the order saw the last nine batsmen all score double figures without anyone going on to make a half-century.
The pivotal moment was when Central Coast No.3 Simon Keen, the former NSW Blues and Big Bash all rounder, was run out through a deflection of the bowler’s hand for 42, the highest score of the innings.
Former NSW Blues fast bowler Burt Cockley claimed two wickets for Newcastle but also conceded 49 from his 10 overs.
By contrast NSW Indigenous captain Nathan Price conceded just 17 from his full quota of overs.
Newcastle had a similar start, slumping to 4-71, which included former Australian Under 19 allrounder Pat Darwen being run out for a duck.
However Newcastle captain Mark Littlewood stood firm at No.3 with a game high score of 59. He was named player of the final following an inspiring innings after dislocating a finger in the field.