Coming into the 2021-22 season, Andrew Rutledge was more than happy to spend his Saturdays away from the cricket field.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
Orange City was choc-full of up and coming talent, so the elder statesman wanted to give some of the club's youth a chance to shine.
"I said to the club that I was happy not to play because we had a crap-load of players," Rutledge laughed.
"I've been trying to take a step away altogether. I'm old enough now where I'm at the situation with the club where I was happy to play one or two games to help fill out a team."
But you know what they say about best-laid plans.
"Then we lost blokes like Blake (Weymouth) and Harry (McGregor) who left town. So I ended up playing twos and was happy to stay there," he added
"Jamie Steadman kept picking me in second grade and I kept taking wickets."
The veteran bowler provided a good spark to the Warriors team. In four games, he picked up ten wickets at an average of just 6.5, but more importantly, the second grade side won all four of those matches.
Then in another twist of fate, the Bathurst and Orange Inter District Cricket first grade competition changed its format to just one-day games due to the presence of COVID.
"Brett Causer asked me if I wanted to come up and I said 'if you want to pick an old bloke, then I'll play'," Rutledge added.
"The one day comp suits me better, because being an old fella, I don't think I could stand in the field all day."
Once again, he shined with the ball and bagged 12 wickets @15.58 to help City secure fourth place on the ladder and an elimination final against City Colts this Saturday.
"Being an older, experienced bloke, it's just another game. It's going to be tough because City Colts are pretty tough," he added.
"Come Saturday, our aim for the game as always is just to win and we've got to bowl and field well, because their strength is their batting.
"Ever since I've bene at Orange City, which has been 20-odd years, our strength has been our bowling. We've just been lucky the last four years that we've had a little bit more depth in batting as well."
Should they manage to get over Colts on Saturday, they will have the tough task of backing up to play on the Sunday against third-place finishers St Pat's Old Boys.
"Even if we finish third, I reckon it sucks. I think it's a joke," Rutledge said of the finals format change.
"I can understand what they wanted to do and do it like the Big Bash, but we're not playing 20 over cricket. We've gone from 40 over cricket to 50 over cricket as well. Whoever wins is at a real big disadvantage because they have to back up and play on Sunday against a fresh side."
But he knows if they can defy the odds, then they will be able to give it a red-hot crack the rest of the way.
"It's going to be tough on Sunday, but if you get up you'll have good momentum because you've won two games in two days," he added.
Orange City's match against City Colts on Saturday will take place at Riawena Oval and start at 11am. The winner will then play St Pat's on Sunday at Morse Park 1, once again beginning at 11am. The other match will see Cavaliers and Rugby Union battle for a ticket straight to the grand final. That game will take place at Wade Park on Saturday at 11am.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.