THE ailing season of the Bathurst opens representative cricket side will hopefully be given a bright note this Sunday, but there may be some unfamiliar faces on hand to do it.
The side will take on Mudgee in Mudgee in what is their fourth Western Premier League match and second Presidents Cup game.
A win in this match would be the first of the season for a Bathurst squad full of talent but light on results to date.
A full strength Bathurst side would be favoured to win the match, but they will not have that luxury on Sunday.
Instead Sunday will be a test of Bathurst’s depth.
Skipper Daniel Casey will be unavailable for the game and his nominal replacement, in Western Zone representative Josh Toole, is also out of action.
In-form batsman Jeremy Judge will be absent as he heads away for a school volleyball tournament while Adam Ryan and Shabbir Dhamani won’t take part either.
Casey said that Jameel Qureshi will take the reins as a one-off with Matt Willis acting as vice-captain.
“It is disappointing that we won’t be at full strength, and that includes me. But it is a big commitment to play cricket all weekend and cricket itself isn’t always the most important thing that people can be doing,” he said.
“Everyone who plays has lives to live and commitments to family or friends or other sporting clubs. There’s always other chances to play.”
So far Bathurst have been in a position to win all three of their matches – two of them against the powerful Dubbo and Parkes teams, and in another against the battling Orange outfit.
Some ill-advised shot-making against Orange and a slight lack of bowling penetration in the other matches saw them lose all three. Therefore even in his own absence, Casey is desperate for them to finally have some success.
“We have been close to beating two very good sides, Orange lost to Dubbo by 200 runs and we set them 250 or so when we played them – that’s what made the loss to Orange even harder to take,” he said.
“Normally even with the guys we have missing, we’d go into a game against the current Mudgee side pretty confident, but after what happened against Orange we can’t afford to take anything for granted.
“Whoever ends up filling the gaps in the side will still be expected to produce, and hopefully we can get things back on track if we can get a good win.”
Mudgee have been cruelled by player movements this season, with Western Zone representatives James O’Brien and Steve Knight both moving to Dubbo for some sterner tests in club cricket.
Another two stars in Jared Clulow and Mark Hundy have been turning out for Gulgong, leaving Mudgee light on in experience and match-winners.
For all that though, they are unbeaten in the season, having defeated the Blue Mountains three weeks ago before adding a good win over Cowra in the time since.
“I don’t know a lot about the team they are fielding at the moment I imagine it would have been pretty hard on them having to replace the guys who’ve gone because they would walk into most teams around this area,” Casey said.
“One of the things we sort of pride ourselves on in Bathurst cricket though is the fact that we have plenty of depth and the fact that we are confident that there are players outside the normal squad who can do the job.”
One of the new faces is Aaron Seymour, who hit 63 against ORC last Saturday as well as striking with the new ball. Henry Shoemark is another who brings good club form into the match after hitting 121 for City Colts.
That helps gives Casey confidence.
BATHURST: Greg Adams, Joey Coughlan, Ben Orme, Jameel Qureshi, Brendan Inwood, Matt Willis, Henry Shoemark, Imran Qureshi, Blake Aubin, Andrew Brown, Aaron Seymour, Matt Fearnley.