WELL we finally made it.
We've got our Bathurst Orange Inter District Cricket top five confirmed for 2021-22 after an exciting last round of action on Saturday, and it's brought up a number of talking points.
Before we head into a busy finals schedule this weekend here's a look at what we learned from the last games of the regular season.
1) THIRD TIME LUCKY
WHEN the BOIDC competition re-formed in 2019-20 City Colts were quickly marked as one of the teams to watch, on account mostly of some top-notch batters making up the squad.
But that lineup didn't live up to the hype, and the trend of not meeting expectations carried over into the next season, despite the fantastic individual efforts of BOIDC player of the season Russ Gardner.
Now, on attempt number three, they've reached finals.
Perhaps the most encouraging thing across this campaign for Colts has been the number of different players who have stepped up when the pressure was on.
Gardner was almost the sole reason Colts had themselves in a competitive position last season, but the skipper didn't have to carry the load himself this time, and that makes a massive difference.
2) DON'T READ INTO LAST ROUND
THERE were losses on Saturday for Cavaliers, Rugby Union and Orange City ahead of their finals campaign.
Is that a cause for concern? Definitely not.
These teams all head their finals positions locked in before the last round, and when you know nothing you do will change your ladder position then that mentally frees you up to go for a couple of risky shots or change things up.
There's no doubt that these clubs would have preferred a more positive entry into the finals but sometimes getting a loss out of the way beforehand can be a great thing.
3) BIG SHOES TO FILL
HUGH Le Lievre's announcement during the last round of the competition that he will not captain CYMS next season leaves a big leadership hole for the club to fill when they aim for a greatly improved 2022-23 campaign.
The Orange district skipper may not have individually had the season with the bat that he'd hoped for but his guidance on the field has gone a long way for the green and golds.
Le Lievre boasts representative experience with the Central West Wranglers and was the sole Orange representative in Western's NSW Country Championships team this season.
We'll see if a change in captaincy does anything to spark a resurgence for the club.
Things can only really go up for CYMS next season from a results perspective, and their last round win over Rugby Union showed that their bowling lineup can make big inroads when they build up momentum.
4) WATCH HOW IT'S DONE
MATT Fearnley will like to joke that he's past his prime but that feels a bit hard to believe when he's finishing at the top of the BOIDC's wicket-taker's list for the regular season.
Fearnley goes into the finals with a tally of 24 scalps from 11 games at an average of 11.46, which aren't exactly the figures of someone who should take a step back from things.
The Centrals pairing of Darryl Kennewell and Zac Reimer deserve a shout out for being one of the most dangerous bowling duo of the season, with 23 and 20 wickets respectively (second on fourth in the standings).
That makes them the equal highest ranking pairing of wicket takers along with Fearnley and Connor Slattery (19).
Kyle Aubin (460) finished on top of the batter's standings to be a highlight in an otherwise dreary season for Centennials Bulls.
5) TIGERS HAVE ARRIVED
ORC will no doubt have to reassess their expectations for the 2022-23 season after they came so, so close to claiming a finals spot in the first taste of BOIDC action.
Captain Dave Sellers has said that at the start of the current season he was hoping his team could snag one or two wins. They would finish with six.
Yes, missing out on finals based on quotient is a cruel way to fall short of the mark, but the Tigers have shown that they could become a force in this competition sooner rather than later.
Sellers had also hoped to see more players in the middle order stand tall when the top order didn't get going, and that's another area where the Tigers were beginning to show improvement.
Watch this space.
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