Souths beat Silver Slugs and Brook Blue upset Murrurundi in UHDCA round 13

HUGE MOMENT: Souths Cricket Club, led by captain Joseph Chandler, is finally back in the winner's books after defeating Silver Slugs by four wickets.
HUGE MOMENT: Souths Cricket Club, led by captain Joseph Chandler, is finally back in the winner's books after defeating Silver Slugs by four wickets.

EMERGING from the rubble following a two-and-a-half-year hiatus from taking part in competitions was always going to be difficult, but after a tough start Souths Cricket Club has finally added another victory to its record.

The Muswellbrook side last celebrated a triumph on February 27, 2016, before going out of finals in straight sets, failing to win for half of the next season and eventually folding due to a lack of numbers.

However, their saviour arrived last year in the form of 29-year-old Joseph Chandler, who moved back to the town and restarted the club.

Having struggled to field a full team and losing their first 11 matches, it was beginning to look like déjà vu.

However, that all changed last weekend when they defeated fellow Muswellbrook side, the Silver Slugs, by four wickets.

No players from the ill-fated 2016/17 campaign are part of the current squad, and thus the festivities were somewhat more reserved, but Chandler said it was still an incredible feeling.

"Most of us have only come back to Souths this year to get the club up and running, so there hasn't been much of that history there," he said.

"It's really been a clean slate for us but it was just good to get a first win of the season.

"Any win is good, and the Silver Slugs, they're a nice bunch of young fellas, we played them just before Christmas and they got a win up on us so it was nice to get one back."

Getting the basics right was key to the victory, according to the team captain, with good fielding, catching, and a much better bowling performance - in which they kept their opponents to 120 - being crucial to the result.

Adam Bartholomew's three wickets were instrumental, as was experienced opener Steve Unicomb's team high 32.

But, the hero of the day, quite fittingly, was Chandler who took 4-17 from seven overs, and made 21 with the bat - including the crucial winning runs.

If his name wasn't already being marked down in Souths' history books, then it certainly will be now.

As for Brook Blue, who themselves broke a two-year winless drought earlier this season, the entire 2019/20 campaign might be seen as a turning point for the club.

A spate of vastly improved performances early on have begun translating into wins, with three now registered and several more winnable games awaiting them in the remaining fixtures.

They sprung a surprise at the weekend, defeating top-four aspirants Murrurundi in a disciplined performance at Weeraman Fields.

Club president and veteran player Peter Cooper said earlier in the season that their focus had been on batting out all 40 overs - and that proved ever so important in their latest match.

Batting first, they took their time and placed a high value on their wicket, with Josh Cooper making a half-century and stubborn opener Noman Jawaad sticking around to add 35 runs.

They finished with a score of 160, and Murrurundi eventually fell just short on 150.

The away side made those runs in 10 overs less than the victors, but lost all their wickets in the process thanks to a good bowling display.

Captain Peter Turnbull caused the most damage, bowling all of his eight overs for just 27 runs, while taking four wickets in the process.

Josh Cooper was also good with the ball, dismissing two opponents in what was a match winning all-round performance.

The result saw them jump back into eight position, just four points behind Bushrangers.

Meanwhile, Souths remain bottom of the table but are within reaching distance of Bunnan, who they play in a fortnight's time.