ORANGE City may be the defending Orange District Cricket Association first grade premiers, but after the first two rounds of the 2013-14 title race the cricketing bar has definitely been raised.
And it hasn’t been by City.
As the Warriors prepare to tackle the toughest match of their title defence, City skipper Matt Findlay has labelled today’s opponents the ODCA’s new benchmark following two dominant one-day wins and a Twenty20 mauling in two weeks.
“Cavs are the benchmark side in the competition, despite not being able to win the title in the last couple of years,” Findlay said, with Cavaliers already etching 260-run and 96-run triumphs on the board this summer. “Their side is that good. You don’t go through the kind of glory period those boys did without doing something right and this year they’ve started the season hard and fast.”
Cavaliers skipper Richie Venner returned the favour.
“We’re probably the same,” he said, viewing Orange City as the competition’s top side.
“We see them as the benchmark. They’ve got the trophy and that’s what we want.
“We’re going into the game thinking we’ll get a good gauge as to where we’re at and what we need to improve on to start the year.”
That gauge is looking pretty good to date, with Venner (average of 265) and Stu Middleton (average of 55) on fire with the bat to open the summer.
Those two finding the middle of the bat early in the year is to be expected from Cavaliers.
What may have surprised some is youngsters James Ryan (average of 131) and Liam Gough (average of 63) are now ominously getting amongst the runs as well.
Findlay said drying up Cavaliers prodigious work with the bat was about consistency.
“It’s about putting plans in place for our bowling in sticking to them,” he said.
“Against batsmen like that if you stray they’ll punish you.”
Expressing his delight at his side’s enthusiasm and fielding to start the season, Venner revealed the desire fuelling his side’s tilt at the 2013-14 crown was “more” than ever.
“After eight years straight you’re still determined but you lose that spark a little. Not being there the last couple of years has made us want it more,” Venner said.
Chris Martin is away with Harry Taberner coming into Cavs’ first XI.
Orange City takes on Cavaliers from 1pm today at Riawena Oval.