Central Coast has progressed to the final of the McDonald’s NSW Country Championships after it finished on top of the Northern Pool.
The Northern Pool section of the draw was played from Friday to Sunday, in Inverell, with Central Coast finishing one point clear of Western Zone at the end of the three rounds.
Despite losing its opening match to Central Northern by 16 runs, Central Coast recovered to win its final two matches to qualify for the final to be played on 25 November.
An unbeaten 265-run opening partnership between North Coastal openers Justin Moore (162 not out) and Caleb Ziebell (99 not out) was the stand out performance over the weekend.
Moore and Ziebell were relentless for North Coastal in its 10-wicket win over Central Northern on Saturday. Incredibly, it was the only victory for the North Coast side during the three days.
Central Coast convincingly defeated Western by nine wickets on Saturday led by a brutal knock from Tony Cornwell at the top of the order. He hammered 97 not out from 54 balls including a stunning 17 boundaries and four sixes.
The win also secured secured an all important bonus point for Central Coast that proved definitive in qualification for the final.
Cornwell shared a 140-run opening partnership with Adam Taylor (61), to ensure the victory target of 169 was reached within just 18 overs.
The win over Western was followed by another hefty 74-run victory against North Coastal on Sunday to book its spot in the final.
Central Coast middle-order batsman Stephen McCabe was instrumental in the win on Sunday. He hit 118 not out from 140 balls including 14 boundaries and two sixes. A 127-run partnership with Hayden Murphy (63) was pivotal to a big total of 6/257. In reply, North Coastal was bowled out for 183.
Blair Lindsay (4-27) returned best figures for Central Coast in the win.
Two players returned five-wicket hauls during the three rounds of the Northern Pool. Ben McMahon claimed 5-51 for North Coastal in the massive win over Central Northern. While, Western zone teenager Marty Jeffrey collected 5-54 with his leg-spin also against Central Northern.
Western defeated Central Northern by 23 runs on Sunday. Ben Patterson was also impressive with the bat for the victors in that match falling eight runs short of his century.
Brock Larance produced a great allround performance in the second win for Western over the weekend. He scored 64 and claimed 2-14 to help his team prevail over North Coastal by 12 runs.
The Southern Pool will be played next weekend with ACT Southern Districts, Greater Illawarra, Newcastle and Riverina all competing for the final spot in the deciding match of the Championships.
Northern Pool Table: Central Coast 13, Western 12, North Coastal 9 (-0.276), Central Northern 6 (-0.366).