UNITED has taken the lead in the Manning River first grade cricket competition.
This followed a last round outright win over last placed Great Lakes, highlighted by a match defining 132 scored by skipper Ricky Campbell. It’s been a great season so far for Campbell, who took over as captain for the first time. United was formed following a merger of the Cundletown and Taree Leagues first grade sides. Both clubs retain their minor grade teams.
Previous leader, Old Bar, had the bye in the final round before the Christmas/New Year break.
United has now accumulated 47.50 points and leads Old Bar on 40.25. Wingham follows on 35.50 with Taree West in fourth place on 25.50.
Great Lakes is already out of the running for a finals berth and sits in last place on 1.50.
Old Bar, the defending premiers, has already won the twenty/20 and one day finals this year and will be shooting for the triple crown when the semi-finals start in March. The side hasn’t lost a final for the past two seasons.
Manning cricket will resume on Saturday, January 11 when Taree West and United meet while Old Bar plays Wingham in first grade and Great Lakes will have the bye.
There will be no further breaks in the competition until the semi-finals start in March.
Meanwhile Campbell’s last round ton has taken him to the top of the run scorers in first grade. Campbell now has 337 runs, heading Old Bar’s Michael Rees on 336.
Rees is only expected to play here until the end of January as he is leaving the area. Campbell’s 132 and Rees’ 101 are the only centuries scored in first grade so far this season.
Ben Cole, also from Old Bar, has 283 runs.
Wingham’s Brad Staff is the best of the bowlers, having taken 17 wickets. He is clear of Jackson Witts from United who has 14.
The Wingham opening combination of Ryan Williams and Jonathon Craig-Dobson both have 13.
Williams joined Wingham this season but his appearances have been limited because of work commitments.
Meanwhile Manning Cricket secretary Craig Rees is currently working on a competition framwork for a proposed Super League competition involving teams from the Manning, Hastings and Macleay associations. This could start as soon as the 2014/15 season.
The idea was presented to meetings of both the Mid North Coast Council and Manning Association earlier this month.
The proposal will be further discussed at a Manning associaiton planning meeting on March 14.
Under Mr Rees’ plan Manning Association will supply three teams to the Super League - Coastal, City and Highlanders. The teams would be split on a geographical basis.
There would be no change to the minor grade competitions in any of the associations.