Bathurst go two from two in Presidents Cup with victory over Lithgow

BATHURST showed great resilience on a bowler’s wicket to chase down the total set by hosts Lithgow in Sunday’s Presidents Cup.

The visitors made it two wins from as many matches to start their cup campaign when they reached the target of 146 with five wickets in hand.

Captain Jameel Qureshi and brother Imran top scored with unbeaten knocks of 34 and 31 respectively, taking Bathurst all the way from 5-85 to the target.

“We batted well to chase that 146 on a difficult wicket. Everyone bowled really well too. Matt Stephen did a great job, so did Ben Parsons, Luke Powell, Connor Slattery and also Nic Broes with his spin,” Jameel Qureshi said.

“That wicket was very tough to bat on and our guys did well to match it with Lithgow in their home conditions. It just took us some time to adjust.”

LEADING THE WAY: Captain Jameel Qureshi top scored for Bathurst in their five wicket  win over Lithgow on Sunday. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK

LEADING THE WAY: Captain Jameel Qureshi top scored for Bathurst in their five wicket win over Lithgow on Sunday. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK

Lithgow openers Ben Sheehan and Mick Hutchinson made a cautious start with the bat on a tricky Tony Luchetti Oval pitch.

Sheehan was removed for 8 when caught behind off the bowling of Bathurst spearhead Matt Stephen, beginning what would be a busy day for wicketkeeper Imran Qureshi.

Hutchinson then watched Blake Caldwell (2) and John Cronin (0) edge the ball to Qureshi, both falling in back-to-back Powell overs.

The Lithgow opener’s patient knock ended at 23 runs when he sent a Parsons delivery into the hands of Slattery.

With the score at 4-56 Lithgow’s top scorer Sam Cameron (31) and Andrew Fawbert (20) provided a middle order resistance.

Fawbert picked up a boundary off Slattery’s bowling but on the next delivery the Lithgow batsman found himself stumped.

Cameron was removed when he punched his shot back into the hands of bowler Broes.

Warren Stevens (17), Connor Brown (18) and Brock Barry (10) helped Lithgow post a competitive score.

Bathurst were given a huge scare in their early moments with the bat when Nic Broes (4) and Henry Shoemark (0) were caught and bowled respectively off the bowling of Chris Redding.

Just as they did for their club side ORC a day earlier, brothers Dave (19) and Wayne Sellers (22) combined to help steady their team’s innings.

However, when both were removed Bathurst were sitting in a worse position than Lithgow for the same wicket at 4-53.

Ryan Peacock added 24 runs to the visitors’ total before he was caught.

The Qureshi brothers arrived at the scene determined to stay out in the middle until the job was done.

Each hit just one boundary on their way to victory.

The winning knock, five catches and a stumping capped off an amazing weekend for Imran Qureshi, who hit 114 for club side Rugby Union Cricket Club a day earlier.

Lithgow have made the jump up to Presidents Cup after spending more than a decade in the second-tier Rod Hartas Trophy, and it’s been a tough reintroduction.

They lost their opening match against Blue Mountains and will sit out the next round with a bye.

Bathurst will continue their bid for an eight straight Presidents Cup when they play Blue Mountains on December 17.