Shah back on song for beloved Charlestown

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DEDICATED: Charlestown’s Parth Shah has been with the Newcastle district club since 2002. The recently-turned 30-year-old responded to a mid-season stint in second grade with 27 wickets. Picture: Jonathan Carroll Parth Shah is an electrical engineer who recently turned 30.

This week he’s working on a mine sitein outback NSW,around eight hours from home at Charlestown.

Saturday, it seems, remains firmly at the forefront of his mind.

“As long as Imake it back for cricket that’s the main thing,” Shah said.

The right-arm paceman has delivered countless overs for the Magpies since joining the club as a teenager in 2002-2003 and couldn’t envisage being anywhere else.

“I’ve been there since I was 15,” Shah, whoplayed juniors at Adamstown, said.

“My brother [Jwalit] played for the club and a couple of years later I started at Charlestown as well.

“It’s a great place, a great club and I’ve never seenthe the need to leave.”

During his career with the boys in black and white, Shah has played in first grade finals across all three formats featuring a Tom Locker Cup crownfrom 2009-2010.

Three club championships have been collected in that same period while two-day, T20 and minor premierships have eluded him.

He rates the current 2017-2018squad, sitting fourth on the Newcastle District Cricket Associationladder with four two-day matches remaining in the regular season,quite highly.

“It’s one of the better sides I’ve played in, especially compared to the past five-to-seven years,” Shah said.

“We’ve got really good depth at our club with a lot of quality young guys pushing for first grade so that’s helping massively.”

Such was the competition for spots, in round three Shah was dropped to seconds for the first time in a decade.

He responded the only way he knows how –by taking wickets.

Twenty-seven in fact across six outings, including a 50-over title and senior-best bowling figures of 8-81 from anotherinnings in late November.

Coupled with the mid-seasondeparture offirst-class importSaliya Salan, back to Sri Lanka with his wife and young child, Shah was recalled for Charlestown.

There have been10 victims fromfour appearances,featuring5-25 just before Christmas, and he’salsocontributed 108 runs, made up mostly staving off an outright loss to Wests last start.

“I started the season pretty slowly and the first couple of games I wasn’t really getting wickets, but other guys were,” Shah said.

“We’re pretty strong this year and Iplayed a few games in twos. I pretty muchhad toforce my way back with wickets.

“Thatwas good and itwas probablywhat I needed. It helped me in the short term and hopefully I can keep it up for the rest of the season.”

Shahlives just a “couple of minutes away” from Kahibah Oval.