BATHURST completed an undefeated campaign in the 2017-18 Mitchell Twenty20 Cup on Sunday with a 19-run victory over Lithgow in the final.
After accounting for last year’s champions Orange during the semi-final earlier in the day Bathurst returned to the Sportsground to take on the only other remaining undefeated team in the competition.
Bathurst made their way to 5-163 from their 20 overs, led by a strong knock from opener Josh Toole (45) and a 70-run stand between Connor Slattery (39) and Jameel Qureshi (36).
Lithgow came out ready to chase as Ben Sheehan (52) and Dallas Tilley (39) piled on 88 runs for the opening wicket.
However, once the partnership was broken Bathurst never allowed the visitors to settle, holding Lithgow to 8-144 as their 20 overs were used up.
“We probably shouldn’t have bothered with the toss. We were always going to bat first and Lithgow were always going to chase because that’s what they love to do,” Bathurst captain Qureshi said.
“In their first six overs Lithgow always come out swinging hard and I thought it might have been a great chance for us to get an early wicket but they batted really well.
“I think once the fielding restrictions went away we started to look more comfortable.”
Bathurst opening batsman Toole had already amassed 50 against Orange earlier in the day but he was still ready to produce more big hits for the decider.
Toole hit six fours and a six on his way to 45 until he was caught just shy of another half century.
At 4-85 the innings could have gone either way for Bathurst but the crucial Slattery-Qureshi partnership put their team in a commanding position.
Mick Hutchinson led the way for Lithgow with 2-27.
Lithgow’s chase got off to a dream start through Sheehan and Tilley. The opening pair hit 12 boundaries.
Sheehan’s dismissal at the hands of Luke Powell marked the turnaround for Bathurst.
Ryan Gurney was removed for just six before Joel Gurney and Todd Costello were both out for golden ducks.
Lithgow’s Andrew Fawbert (24) provided middle order fight but not enough to get his side home.
Nic Broes (2-10) finished with best figures. Adam Ryan (2-21), Powell (2-30) and Ben Mitchell (1-32) claimed the other Lithgow wickets.
“Lithgow matched us with the bat but that just faded away towards the end,” Qureshi said.
“They’re going really well at the moment. Lithgow have always played that way, very aggressively, and that suits these shorter formats.
“I think Orange allowing us to play in the Royal Hotel Cup has helped us out a lot. Bathurst has been a bit behind when it comes to Twenty20, and our [BDCA] games being rained out didn’t help.”
Bathurst’s seven wicket semi-final win over Orange was a big shot of confidence for the home team.
Along with Toole’s half century Ryan Peacock (32 not out) was the other damage dealer for Bathurst, hitting the winning runs in the 16th over.
Matt Stephen picked up 5-36 in a lethal four over spell of bowling.
Bathurst rolled Orange for 107 in 17 overs to book their spot against Lithgow.