St Pat’s Old Boys skipper Adam Ryan says his side is pumped to “have a crack” at this summer’s Royal Hotel Cup, the Saints filling the void left by ORC after the Tigers to force to withdraw due to a lack of numbers.
The Tigers have also withdrawn from Bathurst District Cricket Association’s top grade and while Ryan admits that’s a real shame it’s also given his side the opportunity to test themselves in what’s widely-regarded as the Western Zone’s premier Twenty20 competition.
“It was just something the young blokes in the club really wanted to have a crack at so we thought ‘why not?’,” Ryan said.
“We’re looking forward to it, we’ve got our T20 competition in town here but it’ll be really good experience to be able to play at the higher standard, the next level I guess.”
While the draw for the 2018-19 Royal Hotel Cup – formerly the Bonnor Cup – hasn’t been released yet, it’s been confirmed that will be the only change to the tournament’s make-up.
It’ll be really good experience to be able to play at the higher standard.St Pat's Old Boys skipper Adam Ryan
The Saints will be pitted against reigning champions Centennial Bulls and one other Bathurst club in Redbacks, along with the five Orange-based sides and the perennial powerhouse that is the Lithgow Lightning.
The Saints do have a history of some success in the tournament, playing in back-to-back finals in 1995-96 and 96-97, but of course it was a 40-over-a-side tournament then.
“We know about the Bathurst sides obviously but we don’t know a lot of a lot of the teams, the Orange teams, so we’ll just take it all as it comes and, as I said, just try and get that experience and enjoy it,” Ryan said.
Considering his side was Bathurst’s top grade runner-up last summer Ryan says the Saints won’t be coming to Wade Park to “just make up the numbers”, but also conceded they’d be remiss to head in with too much expectation considering it’s their debut year.
“We’re certainly looking to win games, we’re not going in to just make up numbers but at the same time I guess we don’t have too many expectations, because we’re flying blind in a way,” Ryan said, before suggesting a smash-and-grab approach may not suit his troops.
“Well, we probably don’t have the big hitters in our side that other sides have so we’ll probably need to approach the game a bit more tactically, smart running will obviously be a big thing with the bat.”
The Royal Hotel Cup rumour mill has been abuzz in recent weeks too, particularly surrounding the make-up of Lithgow and Centennials’ sides.
Reportedly Joel Gurney will link with his brother Ryan at the Bulls, moving from Lithgow, while Mick Curtale will once again suit up as the champions’ marquee player, although early reports suggest he’ll only be available after Christmas.