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Charlestown’s Josh Edwards struck when it was least expected.
The right-arm medium-pacer was on duty to bowl the 40th and final over of Stockton’s innings at Kahibah Oval on Saturday and didn’t have a wicket next to his name.
Four balls later in the Newcastle District Cricket Association season opener he had figures of 3-22, including his maiden first-grade hat-trick.
“It was a little bit sneaky,” the born-and-bred Charlestown 22-year-old told the Newcastle Herald.
“They were the last three wickets in the last over. The credit really lies with everyone else because they bowled really well to put us in that position.
“The boys reckon I stole a few at the end, but I’ll take it. They don’t come around like that very often. It was very pleasing.”
Bowling into a southerly wind and with the result already in the bag, Edwards struck with the second delivery of his seventh over when Stockton’s Ben Whitty (0) spooned a “dolly” for Charlestown teammate Aaron Payne to catch at mid-off.
Seagulls top-scorer Lachlan Hancock (44) was the next victim, captured well in the deep at mid-wicket by Isaac Wallace.
The final piece of the three-in-a-row puzzle was aided by Magpies wicketkeeper Matt Bench, who retreated from his up-to-the-stumps approach and took the ensuing caught behind off Stockton No.10 Brodie Cox (0).
“Benchy had been keeping up to me all day but he decided to drop back, just in case there was an edge,” Edwards said. “It paid off.”
Stockton were all out for 146 in 39.4 overs, some 45 runs short of Charlestown’s initial total of 7-191.
However, Edwards couldn’t hang around long to celebrate the occasion with a bar shift waiting at nearby Charlestown Leagues Club.
“I snuck one [drink] in before I left … but I had to go straight to work,” he said.
Edwards’ latest individual performance marked the third hat-trick of his career.
Mounted balls are “still on the shelf” from previous efforts. Both were for Charlestown, starting in the under-10 junior ranks and followed by a senior shot in Denis Broad Cup three summers ago.
But the Magpies product said the weekend’s first-round showing was “definitely the most special” and one to “cherish”.
Club records show Jack Littlewood, in 1973-1974, was the last and only other Charlestown player to secure a hat-trick in first grade.
Edwards is “loving the opportunity” in Charlestown’s first XI after a season-ending injury to Parth Shah and a few other departures.
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