WIN and win well.
That is the assignment facing the Bathurst District Cricket Association opens side after Sunday’s fourth round Western Zone Premier League match against Cowra was washed-out.
Jameel Qureshi’s side went into the 2017-18 competition as defending premiers, but lost against Dubbo then escaped with a one-wicket win against Orange.
It put Bathurst in third spot heading into the fourth and penultimate round against a Cowra outfit which had beaten Orange and drew with Parkes due to a wash-out.
It would have been a tough assignment against Cowra given the both the quality of the hosts and that Bathurst players had little match practice in the build up with three consecutive Saturdays washed-out.
But with heavy rain seeing that contest called off – and Bathurst missing a chance to move into second – Qureshi now knows a win in the final round is a must if his side wants to qualify for the final. Even then it may not be enough.
The final round of the regular draw is set for January 14, with Bathurst hosting Parkes while Cowra travels to Dubbo.
“We will just have to wait and see what happens,” Qureshi said.
“Cowra’s got to play Dubbo and Cowra, they’ve got a pretty handy side, a quality side, so I wouldn’t write them off. If they beat Dubbo, then potentially it could be Bathurst, Cowra, Dubbo, if we win our next game against Parkes, all on two wins.
“Then it would depend on quotient, it could be a three-way tie sort of thing there.
“We were going in with that [must win] attitude against Cowra anyway. We have put ourselves in this position, we lost early on to Dubbo and didn’t get a great win against Orange, so we will just have to get ourselves out of that position.”
The decision to call off the match against Cowra was made early Saturday morning, but Qureshi was not surprised.
“I was driving that way on Friday and saw it [rain] all coming and I thought then it would be off. I hear Cowra got 80 millimetres, so there’s no way that we were getting on,” he said.
“But I still think we’ve got a chance to make the final.
“We just have to concentrate on what we do best and try and get sides to play our cricket. That’s what worked well for us last year and the year before, so we’ll go back to that.
“We’ve got a few great young kids that are running around and a few senior players that have put their hand up still, it’s just exciting to be a part of the whole squad.
“At the end of the day, if we win against Dubbo we are sitting pretty aren’t we? But we lost, so we’ve put ourselves in that position and Dubbo have put themselves in that good position, so we’ll just have to do our best to get out of it.”