Orange City are under pressure for the first time in the 2019-20 Bathurst-Orange Inter-District Cricket season, Centrals have surged again and CYMS welcomed back a legend, but there's plenty more to talk about this week too.
Here's the five things we're talking about following the opening day of the competition's fourth round last weekend.
1 | GLOVE PUNCHES? STOP, PLEASE STOP.
This one might cause quite a bit of division because it's not really about the cricket and it's also a personal bugbear, one I realise I'm far too pedantic about.
I just hate glove-punching in the middle of the wicket, it's rife in this competition and I liken it to a wicketkeeper wearing short sleeves or someone bowling in black joggers on synthetic wickets. Just don't do it.
Take an easy two, great running, better punch gloves. Leave a maiden's worth of balls, great patience, better punch gloves. Take guard with a single swipe of the spikes, clinical, better punch gloves.
Actually the last one's really difficult to do, it's tough to mark centre in a straight line with 10 attempts let alone one, so that would be quite impressive, I could forgive that.
Maybe I'm a bit different but I just cringe when I see batters do it and for some reason I feel like it's something better left the absolute best in the game who can pull it off, or rather, are good enough to do whatever they want on the field.
2 | TURN DOWN FOR WHAT? SUB-CONTINENTAL SPIN, THAT'S WHAT
We're already seeing this to a degree considering spinners make up a fair chunk of the competition's leading wicket-takers and while the decks around here are already turning, that could go to another level.
They're hard and they're flat right now, batters' dream wickets really, but if it stays dry and hot for the rest of the summer Orange and Bathurst's pitches could turn sub-continental by the business end of the competition.
Take the small amount of moisture we've got out of those wickets and the grass coverage will subside with it, they'll dust up and become raging turners, which will only suit the likes of Centrals' Matt Ripps, Cavaliers' Mitch Black and Gus Cumming and CYMS' Chris Novak even more.
Those four have combined to take 52 wicket so far across three-and-a-half rounds of cricket, imagine what they could do if it starts turning square.
Soft hands, play late boys.
3 | BULLS ARE THE GRADE CRICKETER'S DREAM SIDE
In terms of batting there's really only two things an aspiring player needs, which have long been known but brought to light superbly by The Grade Cricketer in recent years, and of course it's all aesthetic.
Anyone who's played cricket, particularly in NSW, knows if you don't look the part and don't fit the mould you're already a step behind your rivals... unless you're Steve Smith of course.
Centennials certainly look the part, because as we know those two crucial aspects to doing well as a batter are pipes and pecs.
Forget ability, forget anything else, a big chest and big arms are THE most important things and traditionally it's your number three bat who boasts the most impressive, and thus most intimidating, torso.
In those terms Centennials have about nine number three bats because there's some serious rig-based selections going on at that club, I'm comfortable enough to appreciate that after filling in for Orange City for the afternoon and feeling substantially more inadequate than I usually do.
Don't get me wrong they can play too, as they've shown this summer after not even nominating a side to begin with, but they've clearly taken note of the things that matter and have started throwing some serious tin around.
4 | COLTS PUT KINROSS AT SIXES AND SEVENS?
A few weeks ago I suggested Kinross wouldn't just compete for a spot in the finals, they'd get there, but it now appears like I may have pulled the trigger on that prediction a little bit too early.
They lost to Centrals after having the red and blacks on the ropes at 7-84 in reply to 190 and now, after Matt Fearnley took a seven-wicket haul, they look resigned to a second straight defeat and their third of the summer.
My question is whether the Western Zone Under-18 Carnival has inadvertently become the catalyst for a potential season derailment?
I answer myself here, yes it has. Or rather, if Kinross fall by the wayside and become also-rans I think we can safely point to that as a huge factor.
Kinross lost half a dozen of their best to the Orange side for that carnival and without, in particular, their two most dangerous bowlers in Ed Taylor and George Cumming they weren't able to take Centrals' last three wickets in time.
Kinross would have won that game if their representative stars were there, in my opinion, but of course that's not to take away from Fletcher Rose's ton or the students' effort on day two. A win would've pushed them into the top four.
It's great those players were called up for representative duty and most of the clubs battled the same thing, the big difference is the other sides don't rely so heavily on their juniors the way the school side does.
While it would be tough to figure that out any other way considering it's a 10-team competition so there's no bye, it'd just be a shame to reflect on this summer and think about what could've been had Kinross not been so heavily affected.
5 | SMASH-AND-GRAB MORE ROCKS THAN DIAMONDS
Confirmed - the winless City Colts' problem is the fact they can't bat out a full day.
They have the most powerful batting line up in the competition that is capable of taking the game away from you in a short space of time, certainly in the shorter formats at the very least.
But this isn't short-form cricket, in this format you have to willing to score runs ugly and grind bowling attacks down if necessary, the way the front-running Orange City and Cavaliers have.
Even in Saturday's dramatically-improved effort of 195 City Colts only lasted 54 overs to give Cavaliers a day-and-a-half to win the game, the maroons will do it in singles if they have to as well.
Would Colts be willing to do that?
I don't think so, not based on what's happened so far anyway, from what I read and hear they've only really been interested in going big by dealing in boundaries, and have done nothing but post sub-par totals as a result.
The fact they've lost 57 wickets this year and 34 of them have been caught is a fair indication of that. That smash-and-grab style of cricket's great when it comes off, it's entertaining and swashbuckling, but it simply doesn't come off much in this form of cricket.
When it does for City Colts it'll be wonderful to watch with the side they've got, but unless it happens soon and consistently they certainly won't be doing it in the finals.
I think Western Zone found this out at the McDonald's Country Cricket NSW Championship this summer too, although that is the shorter format.