A SINGLE win from seven matches doesn’t make for pretty reading if you’re a Centennials Bulls player but what the first-glance numbers hide is the fact that the team haven’t been far away from success this Bathurst District Cricket Association first grade season.
The nine-point gap between Bulls and third placed St Pat’s Old Boys can quickly be closed up with a couple of wins, and with some better partnership building and consistency with the ball it won’t be far away.
We talked to Bulls captain Andrew Brown about the season so far and his thoughts on the upcoming two-day games.
It was a winless run through the one day games for Bulls as their lack of partnership building really hit hard. Brown and Troy Kenny had to shoulder much of the work in the opening games and a strong Ryan Gurney innings against St Pat’s didn’t receive enough support.
The upside was that the losing margins were two wickets, four wickets and 40 runs. Those are far from disastrous numbers.
In all three of those games it wasn’t one opposing batsmen but strong team efforts that brought down the Bulls.
On top of that their bowling was off the mark.
“Our bowling in some of the games was poor in the one-dayers. We were probably bowling too many sundries,” Brown said.
Bulls finally landed their first win of the season in their opening Twenty20 game of the season against Rugby Union.
Ryan Gurney’s unbeaten century gave Bulls a dominant eight wicket win and showcased the big-hitter’s potential when he gets some momentum.
Joel Gurney hit back-to-back 40s for Bulls in their next two games but it wasn’t enough to avoid a pair of losses to Redbacks and St Pat’s – the former being a heartbreaking last-ball defeat.
“In the Twenty20s we bowled a lot better but our batting let us down in a couple of those games,” Brown said.
WHAT NEEDS IMPROVING
It’s all about partnerships for Bulls across the two-day season.
The team need more than a couple of people to stand up with the bat, as evidenced from their opponents’ efforts against them in the one-day matches.
“We want to set enough of a total that we can defend it with our bowling,” Brown said.
“We’ve had one or two people scoring each game but no-one there to stick with them.”
This hasn’t been the friendliest format for Centennials in recent seasons.
Over 2017-18 Bulls lost all but one of their two-day matches and they won just two of three in the season before that.
You have to go back to 2015-16 to find their last winning record.
Bulls lose one of their most in-form players for the longer format, which doesn’t help the cause.
“We do lose Troy Kenny, who has moved away, and that’s a bit of a loss for us but we should still have a really good lineup,” Brown said.
It means out of the club’s four highest run scorers from last season they have just one available on a consistent basis (Ryan Gurney).
BULLS’ PLAYERS TO WATCH
It’s the Gurney boys who Brown believes can drive a comeback.
“I think Joel Gurney will have a good two-day season. He’s been good but hasn’t had the time in the middle to build an innings,” Brown said.
“We’ve got Ryan Gurney with the ball and we may also have Josh Howarth back and he’ll help us out with the ball too.”
Bulls have the bye this week.