TIME to fire up or face a possible exit.
Bathurst City and Centennials Bulls may have played in last season’ grand final but they’ve both had tough starts to their new campaigns, leaving them desperate for a win when they face off this Friday.
There’s plenty on the line for the game as two of last season’s juggernauts chase their first victories in the new competition.
It’s panic stations for defending champions Bulls who have lost both their games thus far while Redbacks went down to Cavaliers in their opening fixture last month and are also staring down the barrel of a tough run.
Redbacks captain Joey Coughlan knows it’s not an easy matchup.
“Bulls are always good,” he said.
“Josh Toole and Mick Curtale are playing for them and Ryan Gurney hit 100 on the weekend so you can expect runs, runs and runs.
“We’ll have to bowl well because it’s do-or-die for both of us.”
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Ben Orme shapes up as the key wicket for Bulls. The Redbacks opener has been in devastating form this season, hitting at an average of 47.2 across all grades.
Fellow top order man and Bathurst representative Aditya Adey has also shown his ability to raise the run rate when needed.
Mark Day and Coughlan himself round out a Redbacks top order packed with potential.
Centennials are hopeful of making it third time lucky thanks to a big-hitting squad making the trip to Orange this Friday.
Bulls captain Andrew Brown said there’s a good feeling among the camp.
“We’re feeling as confident as we can be for it,” he said.
“We’re probably taking our strongest team we’ve taken over there this year. We’ve got Josh Toole and Dallas Tilley playing as well.
“I think we’re only missing Percy [Raveneau] and Aaron Seymour, who hasn’t played yet.”
There’s several game-winning candidates for the Centennials side.
Brown’s back-to-back half centuries earlier this season showcased his potential with the bat when he gets some momentum on his side.
Ryan Gurney’s century in Saturday’s win over Rugby Union was a showcase of raw power. His unbeaten 103 at Morse Park saw the ball sail to all parts of the boundary throughout the innings.
Joel Gurney was the top scorer for Centennials in their tough loss to CYMS in their previous cup game, and will hope to build off that performance.
It’s a short turnaround for Redbacks who have their next Royal Hotel Cup meeting with CYMS this Wednesday.
Match starts 7pm.