Sam shrugs off horror duck and hits out in heroic victory

By Geoff Newling

SAM McHugh had a weekend of cricketing highs and lows last weekend and could be in for more highlights from tonight.

Playing for his McDonald’s side in last Friday’s opening round of Tamworth Premier League Twenty20 the South Tamworth allrounder was run out without scoring.

It was a rare platinum duck.

His side lost to Loco Hotel as well.

It didn’t seem to bother the young allrounder though as the next day he took six wickets for his South Tamworth Club as they ripped through City United, dismissing them for just 65 and replying with 9-135 by stumps. McHugh claimed 6-21 off his 12 overs and made seven as Richard Rowlings (3no) and James Hammond (17no) made it through to stumps and resume with a 70-run lead at Dick Edwards Oval tomorrow.

Sam’s fluctuating weekend didn’t end there though and on Sunday he was helping Tamworth to a third round SCG Country Cup win against Wallsend in Wallsend.

He and North Tamworth Redback allrounder Mitch Holt put on 71 for the 10th wicket as Tamworth made 235 and then rolled the Novocastrians for 200.

Tamworth skipper Tom Groth rated it one of the best wins he’s been associated with in his time, while chairman of selectors, Don Lewington, rated it as “awesome”.

Tamworth District Cricket Association treasurer Greg Tighe, like many, thought Tamworth was in trouble with a number of players missing before Country Cricket NSW rules disqualified two or three of the younger players, who had played for the Tamworth Colts in their first round Country Shield loss to Gunnedah, from the game.

“I couldn’t believe when I read The Leader on Monday morning they had won,” Tighe said.

The Tamworth side had lost stars such as Country representatives Jeff Cook and Brendan Rixon (both at Wests in Sydney) from last year’s team then had young bowlers such as Angus McNeil and Jarrard Abra unavailable through injury before the CCNSW rulings on players not allowed to play Country Shield and Country Cup.

“It was a great performance down there,” Lewington said of the patched-up side’s morale- boosting win.

While there were numerous highlights such as veteran spinner Greg Kellett answering an SOS to bowl and taking two key wickets midway through the Wallsend innings and the impressive fielding effort by the side.

There was also that last wicket partnership which took Tamworth from 164 to 235 after Leo Steyn (14) and Aaron Hazlewood (24) had also contributed to take the side from a perilous 6-96 to a respectable score.

Sam McHugh featured however, topscoring with 42 from just 29 balls.

“He’s been a great find for Tamworth, both with bat and ball,” Lewington said.

“And he’s getting more confident with every game he plays.

“And Mitch showed what a good cricketer he is too.”

Tonight Mitch Holt and his two brothers – Joe and Sam – saddle up for Halpin Plumbing in their second round T20 clash against Locomotive Hotel,at Riverside 2 while Sam Hugh and his McDonald’s side tackle Joblink Plus at Dick Edwards Oval.

Both games are timed for a 4.45pm start at 

Tomorrow Sam McHugh and his South Tamworth teammates push for more runs against City United before the Tamworth side heads to Armidale for Sunday’s War Veterans Cup clash with Armidale at Armidale Sportsground.

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