IT has been a number of seasons since City Colts skipper Daniel Casey has opened the batting, but when he did so on Saturday it paid off.
Casey made 76 to help steer Colts to a six-wicket win in their Bathurst District Cricket Association season opener against ORC at Loco Oval.
That knock showed Casey has the potential to be a good fit in the role filled by Callum Hotham.
It will also help his confidence as he looks to find good touch with bat and ball before this year’s representative games, Casey having stepped down as Bathurst skipper but still keen to fill an all-rounder role.
“I haven’t opened the batting for awhile … and to be honest I don’t think I have been batting that well,” Casey said.
“But I was hitting the ball pretty good in the nets and thought I’d give opening a go and yeah, it went pretty well.”
Earlier the Colts skipper had sent ORC in to bat at Loco after winning the toss.
“I wasn’t really bothered which way to go, but because it’s the start of the season and I wasn’t 100 percent sure what the deck would do, I figured we’d be better off knowing what we would be chasing,” Casey said.
Colts’ struck early to remove Aaron Taylor for a duck and while fellow opener Trent Fitzpatrick batted his way to a solid 44, ORC struggled to form any substantial partnerships.
After losing their fifth wicket with 59 runs on the board, ORC finally swung momentum in their favour.
Adrian Mielke (29) and Dave Hitchick (36) saw the score into triple figures, while Luke Mack made a handy unbeaten 27.
ORC was all out for 206 – of which 36 came in extras – with Tony Clancy (3-18 off five) the most successful of the Colts’ bowlers.
In reply Colts lost Henry Shoemark (11) early, but Casey (76) and Shane Conroy (59 not out) got on top of the ORC attack.
When Matt Stephen hit a six in the 28th over for the winning runs, Colts still had six wickets in hand.
Angus Daymond took two of the four Colts wickets to fall for figures of 2-46 off eight overs.
“They batted pretty well, FItzy and Mielke made some runs, but the big problem for them was that no-one went on with it,” Casey said.
“I think bowling-wise both sides have a bit to do, there were too many extras and too many short pitched deliveries, and the fielding wasn’t great either.
“Shane batted well – he’s a sportsman and he’s got a big ticker. He dug in and took a little while to get set, but once he got in, he played some nice shots.
“When he plays those nice shots he looks like a first grade cricketer.”