A FIVE-wicket haul from Clint Bryant has given ORC hope of keeping its Bathurst District Cricket Association finals bid alive, but there is still work ahead for the Tigers.
Taking on a Rugby Union outfit which sat in fourth heading into the penultimate round, ORC made a solid start to the two-day contest at Brooke Moore Oval thanks to Bryant.
His 17 overs, of which four were maidens, yielded figures of 5-63 as Rugby was all out for 184. He also took a catch as he enjoyed his most successful day in the field for six years.
ORC then had to face 26 overs before stumps and in reply are 3-73. It means the Tigers require 112 more runs for victory next Sunday.
Still, Rugby captain Sam Macpherson, who’s Bulldogs are chasing a third consecutive win, feels the game is in the balance thanks to Tyler Horton running out Dave Sellers for 41 late in the afternoon.
“I think 185 is a defendable total if we take some early wickets next week and capitalise off it,” he said.
“All the boys bowled pretty well and Jaidyn Hutchings got his first wicket in first grade, which is great to see. Tyler Horton got a good run out, which brought the game back in the balance.”
While ORC went into the match needing a win to keep its hopes alive, the Bulldogs were also hungry for a positive result to keep themselves in the top four.
Winning the toss and electing top bat, Rugby put on 23 for the first wicket. Chris Albon (11) was the first man to fall when he edged a Charlie Coggan delivery to wicket-keeper Ricky Webb.
Tim McKinnon – who finished with 2-66 off 14 overs – struck soon after as he had Jameel Qureshi caught out by Bryant for four.
That saw Horton arrive at the crease and while it helped steady things for a period, he watched both Imran Qureshi (28) and Ryan Peacock (eight) depart before the Bulldogs finally cracked triple figures.
Horton (48) finally fell just short of a half century, becoming one of Bryant’s victims to make it 5-125.
Macpherson (30) and Scott Johnston (30) worked hard to try and help their side to something defendable before Joe Lemmich (2-16 off four overs) and Bryant finished things off.
With time still remaining, ORC went in to bat. Coming off a six-wicket haul the previous week, Aidan McBurney struck with the final delivery of his third over to send rival skipper Wayne Sellers on his way for six.
But his brother Dave Sellers was in good touch and the score ticked past 50 before the Bulldogs hit back.
He was run out for 41 and Hutchings claimed Bryant’s (10) scalp to make it 3-58. Trent Fitzpatrick (eight) and McKinnon (five) then saw things through to stumps.