O'Neill trophy stays at Hurstville oval

Century: Saints opener Blake Nikitaras brought up his Norm O'Neill Trophy match winning 100 off 118 balls faced. Picture John Veage

Century: Saints opener Blake Nikitaras brought up his Norm O'Neill Trophy match winning 100 off 118 balls faced. Picture John Veage

St George Cricket club will hold onto the Norm O'Neill trophy for another year after a 71 run victory over neighbouring rivals Sutherland at Hurstville oval on Saturday.

O'Neill played for both clubs, starting at St George but moving to Sutherland to become their inaugural First Grade captain.

In 42 tests he made 2779 runs at 45.55, with six centuries. His maiden test century (181) came in the tied match against the West Indies at the Gabba in 1960-61. Between 1955 and 1967, he made 13,859 first-class runs at 50.95, with 45 centuries.

St George won the toss and batted first on a drying out flat wicket and after two back to back losses they had a point to prove, needing a win to put them back into the Belvedere Cup top six.

The young Sutherland team could not be taken lightly though, with seven local juniors in good form coming off two wins straight over Gordon and Western Suburbs.

The Saints openers Mark Stoneman and Blake Nikitaras set the win up, weathering the early storm before Englishman Stoneman put the hammer down with a quick fire 65 off 73 balls.

Sutherland right arm medium bowler Justin Green changed momentum taking Stoneman's wicket off his second ball for 66.

Stoneman said he was feeling good but it was tough to bat early.

"It was hard to find your rhythm and take your opportunities and when you first come in," he said. "It took a while to settle.

"I reckon we were looking good to get around 300."

The game slowed with Nikitaras, who scored 99 last week, making sure it wouldn't happen again bringing up his 80 with a boundary off Sutherlands Will Straker.

Bartier pushed along at the other end sweeping six balls in a row in a quick fire 28 runs off 30 balls.

But Nikitaras wasn't to be deterred sitting on 99 with a couple of nervous dot balls before scoring his ton off 118 balls at a winning 2-212.

It was an understated celebration which signaled his intention to go on with it and Bartier hit the next ball out of the park.

Sutherland's Straker got his revenge with Nikitaras out on 104 with his first ball of a new spell in the 42nd over.

Saints threw their bats around as wickets fell with Sutherland trying to contain the damage in the last few overs, with Bartier scoring his 50 in a 6-283 total in their 50 overs.

Stoneman's 300 prediction was close and the Sutherland openers Williams and Biviano both got decent starts before Saints bowler Stapleton made his mark, dismissing the captain Williams for 42 and Biviano for 52.

Tom Doyle and Dylan Holdstock both made double figures, but without an anchor the wickets tumbled, leaving Sutherland short on 212 in 46.5 overs.

On Sunday St George lost their Twenty20 semi final to Randwick with a six off the second ball off the last over sealing their fate.