THE Bathurst District Cricket Association first XI will continue its bid for an eighth consecutive Presidents Cup crown this Sunday when taking on Lithgow in Lithgow.
When the Mitchell Cricket Council staged its maiden first grade competition in season 1948-49, Bathurst was declared the joint winner with Lithgow.
Plenty has changed since then.
While Bathurst has enjoyed a dominance in the competition, Lithgow has played in second tier Rod Hartas Trophy for more than a decade.
However, this summer Lithgow has decided to step back up to Presidents Cup level.
While Bathurst was lucky to beat Orange in its first outing, Lithgow went down to Blue Mountains by 87 runs and will be underdogs on Sunday.
Bathurst skipper Jameel Quershi has a near full strength side at his disposal, with only opening batsman Josh Toole unavailable while bowling all-rounder Aaron Seymour is still sidelined due to injury.
“It’s good to see that everyone has put their hands up for the game, so hopefully we can get the result,” Qureshi said.
“It’s a very easy side to be captain of. You look at the Sellers boys, Wayne smacks them and Dave hits the ball hard too. Dave will slot in there as opener for Tooley.
“Then we’ve got Luke Powell and young Ben Parsons stepping in when Biily’s [Seymour] out, I am just very blessed to have that sort of depth to work with.
“That’s the beauty of our side, you have a guy like Daniel Casey batting down the order, then you’ve got the likes of Stepho [Matt Stephen] at 11, Ben Parsons won us a game batting down the order, him and Wayne.
“That's the whole thing about our side when we discuss things, it doesn’t matter where we bat or bowl, if you get an opportunity, you can win the game. We’ve got a lot of match winners in our side, but we’ve all got to take responsibility with that and don’t leave it to the next guy.”
Though Quershi has the utmost confidence in his squad, he knows they must lift on their performance against Orange.
While Bathurst did well in the field to dismiss its rival for 124, when it came to the chase Qureshi’s men struggled to form partnerships. In the end they scraped home by one wicket.
Qureshi also knows that Lithgow must be respected, with a recent Royal Hotel Cup Twenty20 win sure to have given his rival a confidence boost.
“We’ve got a lot of improvement to make in our game, so we’ve got to try and get that right before we face the likes of Cowra and Parkes. So our focus is definitely on us and trying to improve our side,” he said.
“We are the favourites, absolutely, but in saying that, you’ve got to respect everyone that you play and if you don’t show that respect, cricket is a funny game and funny things can happen.
“They’ve come back into presidents cup this year. At the Bonnor Cup [Royal Hotel Cup] they played really well, they play well as a team and there are some handy cricketers in that side for sure.”