Windsor Castle won the first of a potential three A-grade titles on Saturday with victory in the Twenty20 final at Bill BobbinsOval.
HOME: Port Stephens batsman Jaime Magnee slides home to make his ground as the Tenambit-Morpeth keep pressure in the field.
The Stallions, who lead the minor premiership race by nine points with two matches remaining, ran down the 6-103 posted by Tenambit Morpeth with three overs to spare and six wickets in hand.
The dominating display at Raymond Terrace was highlighted by a spell of 3-18 from Andrew Webeck and an unbeaten 48 toskipper Jarrod Bailey.
Webeck, who went for only 4.25 runs per over, set up the triumph by dismissing Damien Miller (6) and Shane Wind (15) consecutively before removing John Carlson (16) at the back end of the innings.
Bailey then sealed the win by steering the Stallions home, arriving at the crease at 3-30 and remaining there until the job was done.
A 34-run stand with Daniel McMahon (13) followed by an unbroken fifth-wicket partnership of 43 with Paul Mullins (13 not out) was what Windsor Castle needed to get across the line.
For the Bulls, it was skipper Matthew Wind who proved the most valuable player with an unbeaten 38 and figures of 2-15 from three overs.
Earlier in the day both Tenambit Morpeth and Windsor Castle had qualified for the final after recording wins in their respective semi-final clashes.
The Stallions annihilated the Raworth Rabbitohs by 130 runs at King Park 5 while the Bulls kept Port Stephens at bay by seven runs at Bill Bobbins Oval.
Windsor Castle made 7-182 from their 20 overs, including a top score of 48 to opener Dave Parish, before bowling out the Rabbitohs for 52 in 16.2 overs with Josh McInnes taking a remarkable five catches.
In the other top-four fixture 2012-2013 Maitland first grade player of the year Michael Crawford made 39 in Tenambit Morpeth’s total of 4-125 before restricting the Pythons to 7-119.
No competition points were on offer for any sides but the Stallions certainly walked away with bragging rights ahead of the main play-offs.
One win from their final two40-over games would ensure Windsor Castle (71 points) finish with the minor premiership,especially managing to take points away from fellow contendersPort Stephens (62) and Tenambit Morpeth (62).
Both encounters, being played at Largs and Morpeth respectively, could be grand final previewswith the Pythons and the Bullsfighting it out for second spot on the ladder.
The Rabbitohs are fourth (58) and a win against Regal Hunter (49) this Saturday would cement an almost-certain semi-final spot.
Hinton (48), Bowthorne (45) and the Kurri Kookaburras (40) round out the rest of the overall standings.
Bowthorne host the Bulls on Saturday, while Hinton and the Kookaburras will go head-to-head at Howe Park in round 19.
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