Stunning opening round performances from Dan Pumpa and Andy Gardiner helped Newtown Black to victory over South Dubbo Limes at John McGrath Oval on Saturday.
Gardiner (19 not out) was one of many from the Newtown side to get starts with the bat, after Souths won the toss and sent them to the crease.
But they would come to rue the decision, as Pumpa slowly built his way to 47 (caught by Joe Crampton to be stopped short of his half century) off 72 balls, while Gardiner ensured there was wag in Newtown’s tail, hitting 19 runs from 14 balls.
Kelvin Blackett (18), captain Josh Battishall (17), Adam Stone (17) and Kevin Newbold (17) all managed starts to help Newtown post 8/184.
As Souths went in to bat, Gardiner continued where he had left off, this time with the ball in hand.
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It didn’t take long either – two minutes to be exact – before Gardiner claimed the scalp of John Byrne – Souths’ top run-scorer for 2017/18 – for a duck on the third ball of the innings.
Battishall said, from there, it was all over.
“That was a really big wicket for us,” he said of Byrne, who racked up 657 runs last season, including three centuries and three half centuries across 15 innings for an average of 59.73.
He was also the Kelly Cup 2017/18 season’s second-highest run-scorer, and hadn’t failed to score since October 2016.
“That set us up for the win,” Battishall said of the crucial wicket.
“That did the damage and got us on the front foot and put the pressure on, eventually giving us the win.”
He also hailed Pumpa’s steady performance with the bat for giving Newtown a total they ultimately defended with ease.
Souths’ opener Asher Azam (42), Conor Dwarte (31), Connor Crain (26) and Scott Dwarte (17) all got starts, but couldn’t go on to score big totals.
Souths ran out of overs at 7/151.
“It was great … I think it shows we’re strong in the field,” Battishall said.
“We didn’t let many runs through, didn’t drop many catches.
“We were pretty rusty from the off-season, a lot of the boys shaking off the cobwebs … everyone sort of got a start with the bat and I think there was about four blokes that got about 20 so it shows everyone’s got potential.
“Good to get a win first up for the season.”
NEWTOWN BLACK 8/184 def SOUTH DUBBO LIMES 7/151
Newtown’s innings: Dan Pumpa 47, Andy Gardiner 19*, John Byrne 1/11
Souths’ innings: Asher Azam 42, Conor Dwarte 31, Gardiner 1/12