Raymond Terrace leg-spinner Aaron Bills claimed 9-19 to rout Kurri Weston for 90 and leave his teammates in search of new superlatives.
“I’ve never seen a performance like that and I don’t think we will see another for a long time unless it’s this year by Aaron again,” Terrace all-rounder Nick Savage said.
“We’re incredibly lucky to have him this year as things didn’t work out with his Sydney comp club. There’s no doubt he will go straight back to Sydney next season.
“He was a level above everyone else out there. He has such fantastic control of the ball and a huge array of deliveries.
“He can turn it subtly or make it turn a mile, throw in a slider. They (Kurri Weston) were in shock like the rest of us and just had no answers.”
The first grade record is held by Les Vickery who took 10-14 for Norths against City in the 1978.
Bills’ return surpassed Thornton Park’s Ben Barry’s 8-45 against Western Suburbs in the 2005-06 season as the biggest recent haul in Maitland first grade.
“It’s great to be back home and enjoying my cricket. It’s the best I’ve bowled,” Bills said before playing for Maitland in Sunday’s John Bull Shield match against Singleton.
Savage said Bills returned to the club as he wasn’t enjoying his cricket at his Sydney club Northern District and would be playing at his home club for the remainder of the 2016-17 season.
“We’re thrilled to have him back, but I think as everyone saw he plays at another level to the rest of us and belongs in Sydney. No doubt he’ll be back there next season,” Savage said.
“He’s not just a bowler either. We’re really looking forward to seeing him hit his straps with the bat as he can be devastating and make big runs.”
Bills started the day on 5-3 as Kurri Weston resumed on 5-49 after Alex Seamer led the way with five wicked to dismiss Raymond Terrace for 171 on day one.
He took four of the remaining five wickets to help dismiss the Warriors for 90 and leave Raymond Terrace the only undefeated team.
“We wanted to make sure we got the job done before the rain hit,” Savage said. “In hindsight we could have pushed for an outright as the rain didn’t come, but we’re happy to bag the points.
“We’re on track to remain unbeaten going into Christmas which would be a great effort.
“But next round will be a huge challenge for us as we’ve got Western Suburbs.
“I rate their batting line-up as the best in the competition. Any team with Aaron Mahony in the batting line-up is going to be a real threat.
“They have Tom Irwin who is a gun and Slim (Andrew Trappel) and a host of other top batsman right down the order.”
Savage said Terrace had the team to beat anyone in the competition, but in such an even competition you can’t afford any drop in concentration.
“Every team is very much in the race for finals,” he said.
“Norths are coming together well again and apart from ourselves are probably the form side of the competition.
“They have a host of good young teenagers coming through, but they are still relatively inexperienced at first grade.
“We’ve got a few teenagers in our line-up such as Jacob Page and Mitchell Pinch, but they’ve got probably 15-20 games under their belt now and know consistently what to do at this level.
“We probably have not been near our best this year. Jaymes Thomas has made some runs but I think he is just about due a big innings to set up his year.
“We’ve managed to get the job done though as a team. We’ve been able to win in a variety of ways without being at our best.
“Whenever we’ve been challenged or in sticky spot someone has been able to step up. Against City it was Steve Smith with a 50 and the bowlers have been able to get the wickets when it counts.
“Adding Aaron to the team is a real bonus, but we all need to contribute.”