A SPOT in the semi-finals of the McDonald’s Country Cup is something which only the best regional cricket sides in the state can boast, but now Bathurst is one of them.
And remarkably, Bathurst did it with scoring a run or taking a wicket in its quarter-final.
Murray Valley, a side which reached the quarter-finals last season, was drawn to play Bathurst this Sunday.
But Bathurst District Cricket Association president Campbell Graham was informed that there was no need for the city’s representatives to pack for an away game.
“We were supposed to play at venue like a Cootamundra or Temora or a place like that and we were trying to confirm a venue where we would play. But then we got an email back saying Murray Valley had forfeited,” Graham said.
“I guess we would’ve liked to keep playing, but in saying that, it gives a lot of players a rest. We’ve had a pretty hectic schedule, so it gives the guys a little bit of a rest, I guess it’s a little bit of a blessing in disguise.”
Given Murray Valley’s forfeit, Bathurst has advanced directly to the December 29 semi-finals at Grafton.
It is the furthest Bathurst has ever advanced in the Country Cup competition, it’s last campaign having ended in an opening game defeat.
This season Bathurst opened with an 89-run win against Dubbo, while on November 13 it beat defending Country Cup champions Parkes by four wickets.
Graham would like to think Bathurst can emulate Parkes’ effort, but knows its rival in the semi-final will provide stiff opposition.
“Parkes went on to win this competition last year and we beat them the last round. We weren’t in this competition last year, so this is very exciting for us, we have never made it this far,” Graham said.
“You always like to dream, but you have got to be realistic about it as well. You can get up there and anything can happen, the wicket could favour the bowling team, you lose the toss and are in a bit of trouble.
“But it’s nice to see how far we can go with this team.
“The last year Russ Gardner was involved he put a bit of emphasis on playing for Bathurst, but since Dan Casey took over and now Jameel [Qureshi], they have put some pride back into playing for Bathurst.
“Now guys want to play.”