BATHURST has progressed to the final of the Western Zone Plate on the back of an entertaining all-round display from Bailey Brien against Blue Mountains on Sunday.
The visiting Bathurst men were hardly troubled in the semi-final of Western's second tier competition, with Brien's bowling figures of 3-11 and unbeaten knock of 72 leading his district team to a seven wicket win.
Brien made light work of the Blue Mountains top order as he had opener John Ford (9) and Sam Trankle (0) caught in quick succession to leave the hosts at 2-15.
Jarrod Lee (1) became Brien's third wicket of the day to leave Blue Mountains at 5-35.
Brien's eight overs included five maidens.
Harrison Craig claimed the big wicket of Blue Mountains top scorer Hamish Lelliott (37) and would be the next best of the Bathurst bowlers with 2-24 from 10 overs.
Blue Mountains' middle order put up a fight to post a competitive total of 143 before they were bowled out in the 43rd over.
Bathurst captain Andrew Brown knows all about the exploits of St Pat's Old Boys teammate Brien with the bat, but Sunday's bowling effort really impressed him.
"We always knew he was a good batter but he had the chance to bowl on Sunday because we were short on bowlers. He bowled pretty well," he said.
"Our bowling was good. We probably slacked off in the second section of the innings but overall we did well with the ball."
Sam Macpherson (2-29), Kurt Toole (2-31) and Dene Rice (1-28) were the other wicket takers for Bathurst while Blue Mountains' Trent Joyce was the next best with the bat on 27 not out.
Brien then went out with the bat in a bid to match his efforts with the ball.
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While Brown (6) fell early, Brien received support from Blake Aubin (22), Mark Day (26) and Kyle Aubin (13 not out) to reach the target with more than 20 overs to spare.
Despite the quick catch of the target Bathurst's chase was still conducted at a steady pace, with just 13 boundaries scored over the innings.
Peter Carroll Field offered up some inconsistent bounce to challenge the batsmen but Brien always looked in control.
"The one that got me held up a bit while the one Blake got out on rolled a little bit," Brown said.
"But everyone that got in managed to get a start, except for myself, and Bailey batted well through his whole innings to get us home."
Bathurst's victory sets up a rare meeting with Cobar in the Western Zone Plate decider on December 15.
Cobar wiped Dubbo off the park in their 202 run victory at Nyngan.