Newtown remains firmly in the hunt for a place in the RSL-Whitney Cup finals after a convincing win over South Dubbo at No. 2 Oval on Saturday.
Henry Railz starred with five wickets for Souths, also going agonisingly close to a hat-trick, but Newtown was able to pile on 9/270 in the one-day clash.
Doug Potter, who’s moved to Narromine from the North Coast, again showed what a fine recruit he’s been, making 81 while Steve Skinner made 47 in his first appearance of the season and Dan French scored 44.
The Tigers, going into the match in fifth spot, the continually chipped away at the Souths batting lineup and scoreboard pressure eventually told in a 68-run win.
“It was a huge win,” Skinner said, returning after knee surgery in the off-season.
“It’s really good to keep in touch with the top three because other results went our way to.”
In fact, each of the sides which started in the top three on Saturday lost as the RSL-Whitney Cup returned in an entertaining way after the mid-season break.
Both sides were down on troops and the No. 2 pitch wasn’t the easiest to bat on but Newtown made the most of its chances.
Railz was outstanding with the ball and only a no-ball stopped in from taking a hat-trick.
However, in the run chase he was one of a number of batsmen who failed to build on a start.
Will Wolter made 70 but the target proved too big as Newtown’s Dan Holland (3/36), Bart Goodman (2/22) and Skinner (1/38) kept the pressure on.
In the end, Souths’ last five wickets fell for just 30 runs.
“There was a couple of partnerships, Will was in a few of them, but he got runout when the run rate got too far in front of them,” Skinner said.
“It wasn’t an easy pitch to bat on and we took advantage of that scoreboard pressure.”
Skinner’s return was a boost for the Tigers, especially given Jordan Peacock is unlikely to feature much in the second half of the season after moving from Dubbo.
“It was exciting to be back and see some of the new faces and older ones I’ve played a lot of cricket with,” Skinner said, praising his side’s depth.
“Frenchy played his 100th first grade game just before Christmas and Dan Holland is getting close to that too and then there’s guys like ‘Dunners’ (Wayne Dunlop) as well.
“But there’s a good mix because there’s young blokes like Mitch Russo and there’s a couple more in second grade who will be banging on the door soon as well.”
Newtown remains in a share of fourth with Colts, two points of the top three.