Cricket: United v Port Panthers Pirates 2017

It was a one-sided affair at Chatham Park for the opening round of the McDonalds Premier Cricket League as United claimed a first round win over Port Panthers Pirates in emphatic fashion. 

Captain Ricky Campbell won the toss and elected to bat before openers Danial Stone and Matt Collier fell for 13 and three respectively.

Stone’s dismissal brought first drop batsman Murray McCartney to the crease. 

He put on a near 80 run partnership with Campbell and was eventually run out for 98.

“He didn’t put a foot wrong,” Campbell said. 

At one point in his innings, McCartney edged a ball through the slips and ran two.

The umpire however called byes.

“He could’ve got his hundred,” Campbell conceded. 

“But that happens.”

Tom Burley performed strongly in the middle order, scoring 75 runs (made up of five 4s and 4 6s).

“He came in at five when I got out and just went berserk,” Campbell said.

Newcomers Liam Simpson and Zac Sheather then brought a close to the innings at 7/259. When the Pirates took the crease for the reply, it was Jackson Witts and Sam Whitbread’s turn to shine.

The duo tore into the Pirates top order, reducing the side to 5/9.

“It was a tremendous effort from them,” Campbell said. 

“They all did their part.”

Campbell said Whitbread made the most of his top grade and United debut by claiming 3/16.

“It was exceptional for his first start in first grade,” he said.

Young Pirates all-rounder Jared Humphreys attempted to salvage the innings but was caught by United’s Liam Simpson on 27. Danial Stone cleaned up the tail end with figures of 3/10.

The Pirates finished on 65 runs from 22.5 overs, highlighting the clinical performance of United.

“We’ve made a good start to the season,” Campbell said. 

“We played well from start to finish,” he said.

The side will meet an eager Taree West side at Chatham in round two.

West sat out the first week with the bye.

Campbell is keen to face off with their former Manning A-grade counterparts.

“They’ve picked up a few really good players,” he said.

Other first round wins went to Wingham, Port City Leagues Magpies and Macquarie.

This story United off to a flying start | photos first appeared on Manning River Times.