Wests pair James King and Ben Chew not only combined to avoid a potential batting collapse and first-innings loss at Wallsend Oval on Saturday, but they went on to produce one of the highest partnerships in Newcastle District Cricket Association history.
And it may not have finished yet.
Left-handed skipper King (165 not out) and right-handed opener Chew (131 not out) came together at 4-31 in reply to Wallsend’s 101 and finished day one of the two-day encounter in a commanding position at 4-335 by forging an unbroken 304-run stand for the fifth wicket.
It was scored in 265 balls and took a little over three hours. They passed Wests’ club-record stand (280) in the process.
According to local cricket statistician Jack Brown, who was on the books for opponents Wallsend during the round-11 encounter, this performance sits equal second in more than 125 years of first-grade matches.
King and Chew join Waratah-Mayfield’s Greg Arms and Murray Christie (304 in 1992-1993) while only Hamilton’s Gordon Woolmer and Frank Brent (327 in 1936-1937) have done better.
Brown said the Rosellas duo become the ninth across all Newcastle district grades to make triple-century partnerships, with Charlestown’s Scott Logan and James Crowley the best ever at 336 in thirds from 2006-2007.
Wests all-rounder Joseph Price, who recently returned from winning the Australian Country Championships and being named player of the tournament, said “it was great to watch”.
“They just went about it very well,” he said. “The left-right hand partnership worked really well and allowed them to settle while the bowling tried to find their lines.”
Price (2-41) paid tribute to fellow Wests pacemen Brad Aldous (5-26) and district-leading wicket-taker Peter Lojszczyk (3-24) for their efforts on a memorable afternoon.
“We had them 2-0 from three balls, got on a roll and kept the pressure on after that,” Price said. “It laid the platform for the batsmen to get out there on a good wicket.”
King and Chew have the chance to resume with a 234-run lead this weekend while an outright result beckons for the second-placed side, 13 shy of leaders Merewether on the overall standings.
Nearing the completion of the regular season maximum points may help Tom Locker Cup champions Wests (53) bridge the gap on the Lions (66), who ended up 255 against eighth-placed University at Townson Oval, while extending their advantage over City (48) and Charlestown (43), who are locked in a top-four battle at No.1 Sportsground.
Dylan Hunter continued his excellent summer with 95 in City’s 224 and Charlestown are 2-45 in reply.
Elsewhere and Waratah-Mayfield (169) have a sniff against fifth-placed Hamilton-Wickham (7-110), winless Cardiff-Boolaroo made 9-306 against Belmont and Stockton (0-23) need 273 more to beat Toronto.
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