The talk of the Orange District Cricket Association has, this season, been all about big bad Josh Doherty.
Given the hard-hitting goliath is smacking hundreds for fun in first grade this summer, you can understand why.
But if Orange is to make an impact in this year’s President’s Cup, the burly Cavaliers all-rounder is going to need some friends.
CYMS opener Mick Hannelly is putting his hand up.
On Sunday in the penultimate round of the 2017-18 Mitchell Cricket Council opens tournament, Orange travels to the hallow turf of Lithgow’s Tony Luchetti Sportsground to take on the Blue Mountains – a tough unit that wholeheartedly embodies their adopted moniker.
The Cattledogs won’t give Orange an inch, meaning Doherty and his merryband of batters, led by Hannelly, are going to have to work together to secure victory.
It’s just up to other guys too ... if we can bat around him, that’ll be the way to go.Orange opener Mick Hannelly
Hannelly is confident they’ll do just that.
“I’ve had a couple of scores, but there’s no world beating knocks there,” Hannelly said.
“Josh Doherty is the form guy in our team. He’s taking wickets as well. He’s just playing really well. He had a great day out last weekend.”
Doherty hit 102 and took 4-39 in a stellar display against Hannelly’s CYMS line-up.
“If he sticks around, bats out the innings, he’ll probably ton up again. He scores so quickly, it won’t be an issue for him,”
“It’s just up to other guys too, myself, Tommy (Geyer), Lachie (Coyte), the senior guys like Dunny (Nick Dunlop) and Deano (Dean Turner).
“If we can bat around him. That’ll be the way to go.”
Doing anything with the bat on Sunday will be far from easy.
While Hannelly admits to not knowing a stack about the Blue Mountains line-up, it’s stacked with some serious talent.
Its bowling attack is acclaimed, with James Heath, a former Western Zone spearhead, returning to the Cattledogs this summer.
The Boothroyd boys, Reece and Chris, are Mitchell mainstays, while Sam Trankle has hit two representative centuries this summer, including a knock of 110 against Lithgow in round one of the President’s Cup.
With such a line-up, it’s easy to see why the Blue Mountains currently sit in second place on the ladder.
A win for Orange, and maximum points against Lithgow on February 18, will see the Bluebaggers leap frog the mountain men on the ladder, booking a spot in this summer’s President’s Cup final against Bathurst.
Hannelly says the key to doing that will be helping the young guys in the side.
“I haven’t played a lot of rep cricket but I’ll give them a hand with knowing how to bat time, rotate the strike and getting guys like Deano and Josh, the big hitters, into the game,” Hannelly said.
Guiding the youthful members of the squad, guys like Fletcher Rose, Harry Pearce and Geyer and Coyte, is important for skipper Daryl Kennewell too.
“It's a good young side ... it's a good opportunity for the young blokes to step up,” he said.
“The trick will be getting guys in the right position to do the job. We've got enough quality bowlers, it's just using them at the right time.
Orange takes on the Blue Mountains from 10am at Lithgow.