Newcastle District Cricket Association: Club coach Michael Hill and first grade captain Steve Mace team up for finals at Charlestown 33 years apart

By , 18/01/2019 12:48

COMBINATION: Club coach Michael Hill and first grade captain Steve Mace at Charlestown cricket training at Kahibah Oval this week ahead of another finals campaign together. Picture: Simone De PeakIt won’t be the first time, but it may well be the last.

Club coach Michael Hill and first grade captain Steve Mace will join forces at Charlestown for yet another finals campaignthis weekend, 33 years after the partnership started.

Back then the roles were a little different –Hill the former NSW representative and skipper with Mace a 16-year-old debutant in a Newcastle District Cricket Association semi.

They may not have gone on to win that title in 1984-1985 and Hill finished his decorated careernot long after, but the legacy lived on with Maceplaying in each of Charlestown’s seven major premierships since.

The most recent was 2005-2006 with Mace in charge on the field and Hill assisting with all things off it.

And now, another dozen summers down the track, fate has brought them backtogether again after coaxing each other to return at different stages.

Hill, 73,in his third campaignmentoring once more at Charlestown and recently out-of-retirement Mace, 49, leading from the frontfor a second straight season.

It’s a pretty good match, and rare to be done so many years apart.

“It’s a nice circle that’s formed,” Hill said.

No surprises either that symmetry also exists in the upcoming opponents. Charlestown meet Merewether at No.1 Sportsground on Saturday and Sunday, the same battle Hill and Mace first encounteredalong side one anothermore than three decades ago.

“Hilly was my first, first grade captain all those years back,” Mace, then a medium-pace bowler who batted a bit, said.

“He was always a guy I looked up to, admired and respected so it’s good that he’s back involved with the club because he set a lot of the cultures there that I’ve hopefully carried on.”

Hill reckons little has changed with Mace.

“What you see is what you get,” theformer Knights chairmansaid.

“He’s quite an exceptional character, very single minded andvery determined. His success has come through whatever needs to be done.”

Mace said he can feel similarities to 2005-2006,which also featured the club championship claimed by Charlestown after the last round on Saturday.

“It’s a similar sort of campaign,” Mace said.

“We’ve been buildinga little bit of momentum.”

Mace said it was unlikelyfirst-class import Saliya Salanwould return from Sri Lanka for the play-offs.

SEMI-FINALS: Wests v Hamilton-Wickhamat Harker Oval;Merewether v Charlestown at No.1 Sportsground.

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