Mitchell Edwards showed why there is so much optimism around the young players at St George as his unbeaten half century helped lead the Saints to an 11-run win over North Sydney.
St George captain Stewart McCabe won the toss and elected to bat at North Sydney Oval on Saturday on what looked a batsman-friendly wicket only to watch his side slump to 6-82.
But a 78-run partnership between Edwards (51 not out) and young paceman Nathan Ellis (48) pushed Saints towards a defendable total before Matthew Lacey (20) ensured St George would pass 200.
Needing 216 for victory in the 50-over clash, Norths lost a steady flow of wickets to be bowled out for 204 in the 48th over.
Lacey (3-38) ripped through Norths’ middle order, with Luke Bartier (3-29) and Ellis (2-36) finishing off the hosts.
St George players wore black arm bands in honour of McCabe’s grandfather, Keith, who died last Tuesday.
McCabe, who made a late decision to play on Friday, said he was proud of his young players who were beginning to find their feet in first grade.
“We keep on saying there is a lot of potential and talent there and it was time a lot of those guys started to stand up and show what they can do,” he said.
“It’s good to see. Mitchey (Edwards) has played 20 or so first grade games now over three or four years and maybe didn’t know his role and hadn’t really taken his chance. But this season he’s made his first grade century in second grade and he batted beautifully on the weekend. He bowls his left-arm orthodox as well.
“We lost a lot of experience at the start of the year and the young players, I've got 10 or 15 years on most of them, [but] the youth and energy they bring is fantastic for us. Sometimes it’s hard and a bit flat but they come out the other end.”
Saints host University of NSW at Hurstville Oval in a two-day, Saturday-Sunday match this weekend.