HIGHS AND LOWS: McMahon soars while Coastal struggles
CRICKET: It was a roller-coaster weekend for Harwood cricketer Ben McMahon, who finished second on the wicket takers' list but failed to cash in on his opportunities with the bat at the NSW Country Cricket Championships at Inverell.
McMahon, who was selected after stellar performances for Coffs Coast Chargers in the Plan B Regional Bash, finished the weekend with seven wickets to his name, including a five-wicket haul when his side needed it the most.
He was joined in the North Coast line-up by his brother Hayden and fellow Harwood player Brandon Honeybrook.
It was a weekend that started with so much potential for the North Coast side after they bowled Western Zone out for a measely 215 in the first clash, but soon it would turn sour with a batting collapse of their own finding the side 10 runs short.
Among that collapse, was a king pair for McMahon and his brother, a moment the all-rounder wishes he could forget.
"I felt pretty confident at the crease but I went for a back foot drive and managed to chop it back onto the stumps,” he said. "It's the worst feeling when you get out like that.
"I still came away from the clash with two wickets, which was an upside.”
Not to be deterred, McMahon returned the following day for North Coast and the side soon found itself in trouble against Central Northern, with its opponents cruising at 3-218.
It would take the Harwood connection to stop the rot, with Honeybrook taking a catch off McMahon's bowling to remove the set Tom Fitzgerald (58) before Hayden pulled off a sharp piece of glovework to stump Nick Smart (78).
The two wickets would be the start of an impressive five-wicket haul for the all-rounder.
"Richie (Gallichan, North Coast captain) had thrown me the ball in the hope that we would just stop the run rate and try to reduce them,” McMahon said.
"Next thing you know, we've torn through the middle order and had them all out for 260.”
North Coast would make short work of the total, with openers Justin Moore (162) and Caleb Zeibell (99) romping to a 10-wicket win.
"That was the best century I have ever seen on a cricket field,” McMahon said. "Justin smoked the ball all over the ground. He was always in control of the innings.”
With the wind in their sails, North Coast appeared on target to win their third clash against Central Coast - and in the process book an unlikely finals berth - before it all came unstuck for the side.
North Coast had their opponents struggling at 5-49 thanks in large part to a fiesty opening spell from Honeybrook (2-10) before middle-order batsman Stephen McCabe took the game away with a century.
"It was just one of those weekends, we played really good cricket but then we would have patches where we didn't perform,” McMahon said.
It was McMahon's first time to the country championships and while there is a potential berth in the NSW Country side for the upcoming Cricket Australia Country Championships, he said he wasn't thinking about the prospect.
"I just want to get back into club cricket and put a couple of wins on the board for Harwood,” he said. "We have the finals of the Regional Big Bash in December at the SCG so I'll be looking forward to that.”