WHEN Bathurst begins its bid for a ninth consecutive Mitchell Cricket Council Presidents Cup crown this Sunday, it will do so with a very different-look outfit.
Not only is the side which will tackle the Blue Mountains at The Scots School vastly different to the one crowned champions for 2017-18, but there are also significant changes from the first 11 which lost the Western Zone Premier League opener against Dubbo last month.
Only six of those players have been named. Adam Ryan steps up from vice captain to skipper in the absence of Jameel Qureshi, while Imran Qureshi, Matt Fearnley, Connor Slattery, Daniel Casey, Sam Macpherson and Connor Slattery have retained their spots.
“It’s a very different look team due to some unavailabilities and junior rep cricket on and things like that, so it’s a great time to give other blokes a shot,” Ryan said.
“It’s a really good bunch of blokes, really good team to be a part of. I’m really honoured to be able to do it [captain] and something I can look back on and say was pretty cool. I’m definitely excited about the opportunity.”
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Those who will make their Bathurst District debut on Sunday include the likes of Northern Ireland native and now star Bathurst City all-rounder Aditya Adey and City Colts’ Jaden Ekert.
Adey has made 115 runs and taken four wickets in two one-day appearances this season, while Ekert has made scores of 107 and 70.
“They have rewarded form, it’s good to see people working hard and get rewarded for it. I know Jaden gave me some headaches last weekend trying to set a field for him, so hopefully he can do it to them this weekend,” Ryan said.
“He can hit the ball hard and push that field back a little bit more, but then we can capitalise on that as it’s hard to change the field between every single ball and he might sneak a few runs in between.
“We’ve got a really strong side. It’s one of those sides that if you used the same team each week you could put them in a different order each week – there are some very talented all-rounders.”
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Blue Mountains is the side which Bathurst met in last season’s grand final – a match which was washed-out and saw Bathurst declared champions on the basis of finishing as minor premiers.
That result both showed the value of making a strong start to their 2018-19 tilt and that Blue Mountains should provide stiff opposition.
However, Bathurst does have the advantage of playing on the familiar Scots wicket.
“We are looking to put in a strong performance and hopefully get the biscuits,” Ryan said.
“They always come to have a crack, you can’t take anyone lightly and we know we need to play our best cricket to get the result.
“Being at Scots, that helps us a little bit. We know how it plays and how to set fields, it will be interesting to see what this little bit of extra rain has done to it during the week, it might be a little slow in the out field. But the deck has been playing pretty well, so hopefully that continues.”
Sunday’s game at Scots will commence at 10am.