MEREWETHER captain Josh Geary doesn't expect Simon Moore back in the XI anytime soon but welcomed a match-winning cameo from the veteran on Saturday.
Geary called up Moore after a late change for the Lions and the Australian Country Championships hall of famer delivered against University at Townson Oval.
Moore, playing his first top-grade game in over 18 months, scored at almost a-run-a-ball and his unbeaten 62 helped the hosts post 7-209 from a reduced 41 overs.
Geary then took control with the ball, claiming 6-26 as the Sea Dragons were dismissed 50 short for 159 in round seven of the Newcastle District Cricket Association competition.
"It was a good result and obviously having Simon back at number five was helpful," Geary told the Newcastle Herald.
With day one washed out and second grade midway through a fixture, Geary needed to quickly look elsewhere for a replacement on December 2 when David Celep became unavailable on Friday night.
Moore, who didn't play at all last summer, has been lining up alongside son Clancy in Merewether's fourth-grade side this season.
"His [Moore's] main request was that he would only play if we could get him back to fourth grade and he wouldn't be locked down," Geary said.
"Clancy actually got 70-odd in the game that he missed."
Prior to the weekend Moore, a long-time Newcastle and NSW Country representative who led the Lions to five straight premierships, most recently made a first-grade appearance in the semi-final of 2021-2022.
Merewether (22) now find themselves equal seventh on the ladder and six points shy of the top four, with Harry Price back from Bradman Cup in the last round before the Christmas break.
Belmont skipper Luke Muddle indicated Riley Urquhart, Jarrod Baxter and the Gibson brothers, Connor and Lachlan, would all be out of action at Cahill Oval.