NEWCASTLE will have to knock over an unbeaten ACT Southern Districts on Sunday to be any chance of defending their NSW Country Cricket title.
After a commanding win over Riverina on the first day of the southern carnival in Nowra, Newcastle fell to steel-city rivals Illawarra on Saturday.
Batting first, Newcastle were bundled out for 186 in 46.3 overs.
The modest total proved little trouble for Illawarra, who cruised to victory with the loss of four wickets in 48.1 overs.
Paceman Rhys Voysey did the damage with the ball for Illawarra.
He removed openers Rahul Bakish and Nick Watkins for ducks as Newcastle slumped to 2-1.
The University of Wollongong quick then trapped Newcastle captain Nathan Price(19) leg before on the way to taking 3-41.
Adrian Chad, who scored 88 against Riverina, led a middle-order revival with a priceless 60 at No.6. All-rounder Josh Geary then ensured Newcastle had something to bowl at with an unbeaten 36.
Wests spearhead Peter Lojszczyk gave Newcastle some hope when he had Illawarra opener Blake Munilla caught without a run on the board.
But Graeme Batty (86) and Mitchell Watterson (58) put on 146 for the second wicket to take the game away from Newcastle.
In the other game on Saturday, ACT Southern Districts (211) were too strong for Riverina (161)