National selector Trevor Hohns was in the stands, Test captain Tim Paine was the opposition wicketkeeper and former Australian paceman Jackson Bird was part of the bowling attack as Jason Sangha became the first Novocastrian to score a Sheffield Shield century for NSW in more than four decades.
The milestone was brought up in the 19-year-old’s third Shield appearance – he made a pair of ducks in his second – and helped steer the Blues to a commanding 334-run lead against Tasmania approaching day three.
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After making 117 from 223 balls in his maiden first-class match at the SCG, Sangha, who is now based in Sydney and plays for Randwick Petersham, gave a nod to his time playing in Newcastle at Wallsend and Toronto.
“It’s a pretty awesome feeling,” the former Hunter Sports High School student said about raising his bat at the iconic venue on Tuesday.
“I started my career playing in Newcastle. I was at Toronto Workers for a couple of years of juniors … but I’ve got to thank the guys at Wallsend District Cricket Club, they are the ones who put me in first grade when I was 12 years old.
“They’ve been right behind me ever since I was 12 and it’s nice to know they are still behind me now.”
The late Gary Gilmour is believed to be the last Newcastle-bred player to score a Shield century for NSW. His first-class career, including five tons, spanned between 1971-72 and 1979-1980. He made 104 for the Blues against Victoria in 1975-76 after notching up a career-best 122 on debut.
Inverell-born former Test opener Rick McCosker was based in Newcastle when he captained NSW in 1981-82 and racked up five centuries before Christmas.
McCosker linked with Newcastle club Lambton-New Lambton, now known as Wests. He retired from NSW after 1983-84.
Dungog’s Test all-rounder Doug Walters scored 45 first-class centuries between 1962-1963 and 1980-1981. His highest Shield score for NSW was 253 against South Australia in 1964-65.
Sangha, promoted to No.5 in the Blues batting line-up and resuming from his overnight score of 70 not out, reached the three-figure mark just after midday on day two after running a ball down to a vacant third man.
With his family in the crowd, he celebrated by leaping in the air accompanied with a fist pump. He eventually holed out to point off the bowling of part-timer Matt Wade.
Sangha hadn’t troubled the scorers in his most recent Shield outing against Victoria at the MCG.
“Cricket’s all a mental sport, so for me it was just to go out there and continue to back myself,” he said. “But it was a nice confidence boost to know what I’ve been doing is right and it was nice to go out there and score some runs.”
Just the 3rd time two teenagers have scored a Sheffield Shield century in the same innings:— Fox Sports Lab (@FoxSportsLab) November 6, 2018
Ricky Ponting (105) and Michael Di Venuto (125) in 1993
Martin Love (119) and Jimmy Maher (122) in 1994
Jack Edwards (101) and Jason Sangha (117) in 2018#NSWvTAS@CricketNSWBlues@SCG
Sangha and Jack Edwards (101), who put on 180 for the sixth wicket after coming together at 5-181, are the third set of teenagers to score centuries for the same team in the same Shield game.
NSW finished 9(dec)-442. Tasmania are 3-108.