BEFORE the toss in Sunday's Rod Hartas Trophy game against Mudgee, captain Andrew Brown told his team-mates he thought they were part of the strongest Bathurst line-up he'd ever seen in the competition.
It's a line up that went on to win by 105 runs at Morse Park 2 and move into the lead of the Central West Cricket Council competition.
It's a competition that the Bathurst second XI has won the past two seasons and Brown not only has the confidence it can become a three-peat.
The captain went as far as saying he felt Bathurst's Rod Hartas side could have provided a real test for the Bathurst first XI which beat Parkes in the Western Zone Premier League competition the same day.
"Before the game we had a quick chat and I said it was probably the strongest side we've had in Hartas that I've been involved with," Brown said.
"There are a few boys there that have had a crack in the opens team when people have been away there and there are a few that could be still be playing there, or could be making that jump.
"It's a shame the the team is so strong in the opens, but it's good for cricket in Bathurst in general, there's good competition for spots.
"To be honest I think it could have been Bathurst verse Bathurst today ... just looking at the two line ups today, we would've given it a good crack I reckon."
Bathurst won the toss and batted first and while it was evenly balanced early on as Mudgee had the hosts at 3-59, from there Brown's side took control.
Brown (62) and Mark Day (21) saw the score into triple figures, Tyler Horton made a handy 32 before being run out, then Kurt Toole clubbed an aggressive 67.
Coming in at number eight, Toole upped the run-rate with a knock that featured seven boundaries and a pair of sixes. It helped Bathurst to an imposing 283-run total with Cooper Martin's 3-46 off 10 the best effort from the Mudgee attack.
"I got 62 and Tooley top scored with 67 and then we got a lot of 20s and 30s and that all adds up to a good score. There were some good partnerships which kept us going," Brown said.
"Tooley came in with about 15 overs to go and just played his role, he scored quicker than a run-a-ball. There was a real short boundary on one side and he made the most of that."
In reply Mudgee opener Matt Orr (59) got his side off to a flier, the visitors scoring at a run-a-ball. He cracked nine boundaries and had two shots clear the ropes.
But after he fell in the 11th over to Joey Coughlan to make it 1-67, Mudgee struggled. Josh Meers showed fight with his 60, but found little support as the visitors were all out for 178 in the 45th over.
Coughlan finished with an ultra impressive 4-18 off 10 overs, Toole added to his batting heroics with 3-21 off six and Hugh Parsons was economical with his 1-16 off eight.
"They started pretty well, they had a bloke score like 59 of their first 67 runs, but he played at one across the line and then that was his day," Brown said.
"Once we got him out we worked hard to get the wickets. The pitch wasn't very helpful for our bowlers so we just had to keep sticking at it."
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