Central Coast Rush have upset defending champions, Newcastle Blasters, in the T20 Plan B Regional Bash on Sunday, setting up a tight finish to determine who will progress from the Newcastle Pool to finals day in December.
Despite soaking rains, three matches took place on Sunday. The Rush defeated the Blasters by four wickets at Harker Oval with a pivotal 44 from opener Adam Taylor getting Central Coast home. The Rush made it two from two for the day with a 64-run victory over Hunter Hitmen, while Lake Mac Attack posted their debut win in the tournament, against the Hitmen.
It was only due to the hard work of the Western Suburbs Cricket Club ground staff in Newcastle that saw play take place in three matches with two of the scheduled fixtures abandoned. Last weekend’s drawn match between Central Coast and Hunter Hitmen was replayed.
The matches between the Attack and Rush as well as, Blasters against Hunter Hitmen, were both abandoned.
The Blasters were dismissed for 140 within 19 overs by the Rush with the underdogs clinching victory on the last ball of its 20 overs. Left-arm spinner Chris Archer (3-29) and Hayden Murphy (3-22) also made valuable contributions in the win.
The two wins for the Rush put it in the box seat to progress to finals day. They now eagerly await the result of the ‘grudge’ match between the Attack and Blasters on 21 October at Waratah Oval.
If the Attack win, it will go down to run rate to see who takes out the pool, while if the Blasters emerge from that match victorious, the Rush are on their way to the Sixers Conference Final.
Coffs Coast Chargers have already qualified for the Sixers Conference Final after they won all three of their matches in the Port Macquarie Pool the previous weekend.
Taylor was key to both victories for the Rush on Sunday. In addition to a solid 44 at the top of the order in the victory over the Blasters, he also produced a superb all-round performance in the win against the Hitmen.
Taylor scored 47 at the top of the order and claimed 4-12 with the ball.
His two knocks on Sunday moved Taylor into the top five leading run-scorers in the competition. He is 60 runs behind hard-hitting allrounder Caleb Ziebell, who posted 151 runs at 50.3 for the Northern Rivers Rock last weekend.
This included two impressive half-centuries of 75 and 64 against the Northern Inland Bolters and Coffs Coast Chargers respectively.
Archer was also very consistent for the Rush on Sunday. He collected five wickets during both matches at an average of 7.2.
Opening batsman Nick Watkins made an important 46 from 51 balls to seal a six-wicket victory for the Attack against the Hitmen.
Newcastle Pool of the Plan B Regional Bash matches played on Sunday:
Central Coast Rush 4/170 (A Taylor 47 B Cohen 41 J Shelley 34 H Murphy 28no T Baker 2- 22) defeated Hunter Hitmen 106 (J Tuckwell 29 A Taylor 4- 12 C Archer 2- 7)
Lake Mac Attack 4/90 (N Watkins 46 R Fenning 28no I Barry 2- 10) defeated Hunter Hitmen 8/86 (L Smith 32 D Chillingworth 3- 11 A Bills 2- 17).
Central Coast Rush 6/141 (A Taylor 44 T Cornwell 22 J Montgomery 2- 10 J Durrheim 2- 26) defeated Newcastle Blasters 140 (N Price 40 N Hudson 33 J Geary 20 H Murphy 3- 22 C Archer 3- 29 B Lindsay 2- 21).
Current Table: Central Coast Rush 4, Lake Mac Attack 2, Newcastle Blasters 0, Hunter Hitmen 0.