AFTER a season in which the word ‘potential’ was replaced with ‘genuine threats’, St Pat’s Old Boys are once again shaping as Bathurst District Cricket Association first grade contenders this summer.
While the 2017-18 runners-up made a slow start to their campaign, losing their first three games, the Saints were the only side to go through the Twenty20 rounds undefeated.
Skipper Adam Ryan offers his thoughts on the season thus far and what lies ahead.
THE Saints did not do as well in the one-day fixtures as Ryan would have liked, finishing with a two and three record.
However, Ryan feels his side learned from its early defeats and improved as it went on. The Saints not have lost since round three.
“We would’ve liked a couple more wins in our one-dayers, but in each game we were in the contest,” he said.
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HE may have been nervous about what the Twenty20 portion of the season would bring, but as it turns out, Ryan need not have worried.
The Saints made a clean sweep of their T20 fixtures.
“I’m very happy that we’ve come through the Twenty20s with all the wins, because I thought that would be the format we’d struggle most at this season,” Ryan said.
“We didn’t have really notable big hitters, but we’ve got a lot of technical batsmen that were able to work the singles. We’ve outdone our expectations and the consistency we showed in all our matches was a real plus as well, I think 157 was our lowest score.”
WHAT NEEDS IMPROVING?
THOUGH he felt their run rate could have been better at times in the one-dayers, Ryan has been happy with the Saints’ batting cards so far this season.
They show that his men are yet to have been bowled out. However, when it comes to the ball the captain knows things can get better.
“We’ve got to be able to build pressure with our bowling,” he said.
“We need to take early wickets, that’s something we lacked in a few of our earlier games, not being able to get that early breakthrough.”
WHILE the Saints are on a five-game winning streak, Ryan knows that they will be put to the test early in the two-dayers.
This Saturday they will come up against defending premiers Rugby Union, while the Saints have then been drawn to meet current competition leaders Bathurst City.
“These first couple of two-dayers are very important for us in terms of getting points to put ourselves in a high position on the table going into the finals,” he said.
PAT’S PLAYERS TO WATCH
HE calls it “the best side I’ve ever played in club-wise” and with the talent in the Saints roster it is easy to see why Ryan feels that way.
Nic Broes currently tops the leading run scorers and wicket-takers list and Ryan expects he will continue to shine.
“Nic is obviously our standout, he is just going unbelievable,” he said. “Connor Slattery is another one of those dark horses who on the day can produce the goods. They’re the two that I think will be taking us forward.”
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THE TITLE THREATS
WITH the talent across the five teams in the competition, Ryan feels all of his rivals deserve respect.
However, with Jameel Qureshi returning for Rugby Union and the proven performers Bathurst City boasts, Ryan rates them as the biggest threats.
“Any team Jameel plays in is always going to be tough because he is such a smart player with bat and ball,” he said.
“I also think, while I know they’ve got a bit of a changed side this year, Bathurst City still has individuals who can take to game away from you too.”