NEWCASTLE junior representative Thomas Karnaghan is eyeing off a quarter-final spot in Sydney's Green Shield competition at the end of what's been a confidence-boosting campaign.
Karnaghan is one of at least half-a-dozen cricketers from the district playing under 16s in the state capital with Hawkesbury on the verge of a top-eight position.
The Jesmond 16-year-old, aligned with Newcastle club Wests, feels likes he's improved throughout the 2021-22 season.
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"It definitely helps, that experience of playing high-level cricket," Karnaghan said.
"Coming back to Newcastle grade or even Bradman Cup [last week], you notice the difference.
"It's challenging because you're up against the best people for your age, but that's what makes it fun at the same time.
"All the teams are really competitive and you just want to do your best."
Wicketkeeper-batsman Karnaghan has a last-round clash for Hawkesbury against Campbelltown-Camden at Owen Earle Oval on Sunday.
Only one point separates the upcoming opponents on the ladder after the opening six rounds.
It leaves them either side of the top eight and, essentially, whoever wins the 50-over affair this weekend advances to this month's play-offs.
Hawkesbury, who were washed out Thursday, arrive following three straight wins. This included Tuesday's narrow victory against Mosman, which doubled as a personal "one up" for Karnaghan over Charlestown's Kel Wilson and Cardiff-Boolaroo's Austen Hiskens.
Northern Districts, featuring City's Harry Campbell, sit second overall. UTS North Sydney, including Belmont's Thor Harradine, are 12th and need results to go their way. Mosman (13th) are out of the running like Thomas Cover's UNSW (17th).
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