It’s crunch time for Kinross.
If the students are to progress past the group stage of the 2016-17 Royal Hotel Cup they must account for powerhouse newcomers Bathurst City on Friday night, or face certain elimination.
They’ll be without the Geyers – Steve and Tom – who have been in enviable form but will welcome back former Orange District Cricket Association cricketer of the year Charles Litchfield, who returns to the two blues as their marquee player.
Although on statistics Litchfield wasn’t exactly a gamebreaker in the Twenty20 Royal Hotel Cup – in 11 appearances he’s averaged 21.6 – his class is undeniable and it helps he’s been in red hot form for Sydney University.
Although he admitted to a somewhat “slow start to the season” Litchfield will resume his side’s Sydney Grade Cricket third grade game against Gordon on Saturday on 109 not out, after combining with Hayden Kerr (129 not out) to put Uni 201 in front overnight.
“The skipper’s already told me he’s going to declare though, so I won’t get the chance to go really big with it,” Litchfield said.
“I hit them pretty well, it was good to get some runs on the board and keep pushing my claims to move up the grades.
“I hope I can hit them that well for Kinross [on Friday], it’ll be good to get back, see everyone and have another game for Kinross.”
Kinross opened its campaign with a 10-wicket thrashing at the hands of Lithgow Lightning a fortnight ago, things don’t get easier against Bathurst City either – Redbacks are brimming with talent and motivation in their return to the competition.
The last time Bathurst City contested the Royal Hotel Cup was in 2006-07 – the last season of the Bathurst-Orange Inter-District Cricket Association – and it was a 40-over competition.
Redbacks missed the semi-finals that year, but cruelly had several of their games washed out before a debacle with a rescheduled game, when they showed up to an unprepared pitch and no opposition.
”I don’t know much about them, I don’t think anyone in our side would to be honest,” Litchfield said.
“Hopefully we can get a win and I can score a few.”
Bathurst City all-rounder Joey Coughlan said his side won’t fly into Friday night’s game blind though.
“Actually we probably know Kinross a bit better than any other sides because Trent (Hemsworth) has coached a lot of those guys over the years,” Coughlan said.
“We know they’re a young side, and we know they’re a trying side. Very enthusiastic and plenty of talent, but we also know they haven’t had heaps of success in the Orange (District Cricket Association) competition.”
Friday night’s clash kicks off at 6.30pm.