RUGBY Union skipper Sam Macpherson and his Centennials Bulls opposite Josh Toole both gave meaning to the term ‘captain’s knock’ on Saturday as the new Bathurst District Cricket Association first grade season commenced.
But when the match finished at the Sportsground, it was Macpherson who was celebrating a win with his team-mates.
Rugby chased down the 211 it needed for victory with seven balls remaining, posting a three-wicket victory.
Macpherson had made 57 in that chase, while the formidable target was set up by a typically aggressive knock from Toole.
The Bulls’ skipper cracked five sixes and four boundaries on his way to 92 opening the batting, Toole punishing Rugby for giving him two lives.
“We dropped Tooley on 30 and again on 60 odd, we always seem to drop him early on. But I knew once we got Tooley and Billy [Aaron Seymour] out we’d do alright,” Macpherson said.
Toole opened the batting with Andrew Brown (25), but it was when he combined with number three Seymour that the Bulls got on top.
Together they took the score from 1-48 to 160 before Rugby made the breakthrough.
Toole tried to blast a Jimmy Tristram delivery over the boundary, but Nathan Swards was waiting in the deep. He fell over the boundary, but managed to flick the ball back infield to Macpherson before doing so.
Having taken the catch, Rugby’s skipper rallied his men.
“Once we got Tooley out we all got together in a huddle and said ‘Let’s put pressure on every shot’. That’s what we did and that’s when they started getting out to some silly shots,” he said.
Seymour fell for 47 and while there were a handful of handy contributions, no other Bulls batsman really got on top of Rugby’s attack.
Tristram spearheaded the fightback, claiming 5-30 off seven as the Bulls were all out for 210.
Rugby’s chase did not start well as opener Imran Qureshi (32) struggled to find some support.
The Bulls had their rivals at 3-51 then 5-73 before Ben Hurford and Macpherson turned things around with a 91-run stand.
Macpherson, who was given a life two balls before the drinks break, hit four boundaries on his way to 57. He finally fell to Casey White with 47 required for victory.
From there Hurford (54 not out) helped guide Rugby home with Tristram (13 not out).
Mark Simmons (2-43) and Jeremy Nash (2-45) were the best of the Bulls’ bowlers.
“We chased a fair bit of leather when they were batting and then when we lost those early wickets – I always felt we could get the runs but after we lost those early wickets I was a bit more sceptical,” Macpherson said.