Newcastle District Cricket Association: Belmont bowler Jace Lawson reaches 500 first grade wickets

MILESTONE: Belmont paceman Jace Lawson chalked up his 500th first grade wicket for Belmont on Saturday. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.It has taken almost two decades and a countless number of overs, but Belmont paceman Jace Lawson has become the 12th player to reach 500 first grade wickets in the Newcastle district competition.

The 34-year-old left-armer clocked up the significant milestone on Saturday with his first victim of the second innings en route to an outright victory for the league leaders away against Waratah-Mayfield.

“I was more relieved than anything because I didn’t get a breakthrough in the first innings,” Lawson said.

“But it’s been a lot of bowling [over the years] and I’m feeling it.I was bowling at least 25 to 30 overs a game there for quite a long time. That doesn’t happen these days, but now I’m sorer from 10 overs compared to back then.”

But the seasoned campaigner has pushed through the pain, most recently an unidentified right-knee injury, to continue on Belmont’s frontline.

Management is paramount and he will sit out their upcoming round nine fixture at home against third-placed Toronto in order to be fully fit for next weekend’s one-day decider.

It will be Lawson’s first Tom Locker Cup final, playing against University at No.1 Sportsground on December 18, after missing his club’s last appearance in 2003-2004 when overseas.

“Finals have been pretty rare,” Lawson said. “I can’t wait.”

Lawson also has the chance to add a premiership to his lone prize from 2008-2009 and the forklift driver from Macquarie Hills can’t recall a better start to a summer, with the Cahill Oval lads dropping only one game and sitting nine points clear on top of the ladder.

“It’s the best start I can remember to a season I’veplayed in,” he said.

“Normally we get to Christmas and we’re in a spot to have a crack at the semis. But now we control it. It’s up to us where we finish, rather than relying on other teams.”

Part of Belmont’ssuccesshas been three tons scored by skipper Mark Littlewood.

Part of it has beennew recruits like Greg Hunt and Jesse Major.

But part of it has remained Lawson consistently playing his role in the team with 15 wickets at an average of 13.33.

He now has 503 wickets, starting with 4-20 on debut against Wallsend as a teenager in the late 1990s and peaking with a career best 58 scalps in 2014-2015.

It puts him within reach of Jack Bull (509) but a long way from record holder Ken Hill (1128). The only other current player ahead of Lawson is Hamilton-Wickham’sSam Webber (536).Belmont’s previous highestwas David Wrixon (380). Lawson’s best figures are 8-43.

Statistics are courtesy of Wallsend scorer Jack Brown.

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