The Newcastle representative cricket squad will now turn their attention to the NSW Premier T20 Cup after bowing out of the NSW Country Championships title race for 2018-19.
Newcastle (112) fell 18 runs short chasing the 130 of finalists ACT Southern Districts at Berry on Sunday after going down to Greater Illawarra by six wickets at Nowra on Saturday.
Newcastle had beaten Riverina first-up on Friday and after their second-round loss needed to claim their third encounter to have any chance of progressing to the November 25 decider against northern pool winners Central Coast at Bowral’s Bradman Oval.
The bowlers had given Newcastle a chance on Sunday with a steady flow of wickets throughout the innings but the batting line-up was unable to reel in ACT’s small 50-over target.
Merewether’s Josh Geary was the pick of the seamers with 3-17 from 10 overs, including opposition skipper and top scorer Daniel Leerdam (41).
Wests paceman Peter Lojszczyk (2-19) and Belmont leg-spinner Toby Gray, both on debut for Newcastle at the country carnival, had two wickets each.
Wests’ Brad Aldous (1-29), Waratah’s Jonty Durrheim (1-18) and Stockton’s Nick Foster (1-9) all chipped in with one wicket apiece.
In reply Newcastle were in early trouble with both openers, Cardiff pair Nick Watkins and Rahul Bakshi, dismissed for ducks for the second consecutive match.
Captain Nathan Price (30), of Wallsend, Charlestown’s Jed Dickson (20) and Wallsend’s Jake Montgomery (10) steadied the ship but Newcastle lost 3-4 in the middle stages.
Durrheim (23), batting at eight, and No.11 Foster (12 not out) then gave Newcastle a sniff with an 18-run stand for the last wicket.
On Saturday and former NSW Country skipper Graeme Batty (86) was the difference for Greater Illawarra (4-187) chasing down Newcastle’s 186 with 3.3 overs to spare. Toronto’s Adrian Chad (60) and Aldous (2-47) were Newcastle’s best.
Newcastle’s NSW Premier T20 Cup campaign continues with a double header at Waratah Oval on Sunday, November 25.