Bathurst City's season opener surprises skipper Matt Willis

BATHURST City began season 2016-17 as the Bathurst District Cricket Association’s defending premiers, but skipper Matt Willis admitted he was surprised at what they produced in their opening game.

Redbacks dismissed rivals St Pat’s Old Boys for 86 then chased down that total in 19 overs for the loss of two wickets.

That was with a squad which did not include three members of their premiership winning outfit in Kirby Earle, Matt Lawson and Adam Orme.

Earle opened the batting for Redbacks and last season scored 444 runs at an average of 49.3. His efforts included knocks of 117 and 104.

Lawson was Redbacks’ strike bowler as he claimed 47 wickets at an average of 9.5. His strike rate was 27.6 and on average he conceded 2.5 runs per over.

Orme was another member of Redbacks’ bowling attack. He finished 2015-16 with 17 wickets at 21.4.

Willis knows they are three big losses, but he still has confidence in his playing group. Saturday’s season opener demonstrated why.

“With the team we had last year, it was probably hard for us not to win the comp, if that doesn’t sound arrogant, but we were just blessed with a lot of good cricketers,” Willis said.

“It was in the back of our minds we weren’t sure about this season. We have lost 500 runs a season with Kirby and we’ve lost 50 wickets with Lawso and Adam Orme as well.

“We are probably not expected to do as much, but we still think that we can win the comp, so we are going to keep working towards that.”

BIG LOSS: Opener Kirby Earle is one of three big name players who are not playing for Bathurst City this season. Photo: PHIL BLATCH

BIG LOSS: Opener Kirby Earle is one of three big name players who are not playing for Bathurst City this season. Photo: PHIL BLATCH

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