In an incredible and unpredictable twist both of last summer’s Royal Hotel Cup grand finalists are now staring down the barrel of being eliminated from this season’s title race, little over a third of the way through the group stage.
With that in mind, it couldn’t be more appropriate the two sides face-off in a do-or-die epic at Wade Park on Friday night.
Winless so far in Orange District Cricket Association’s Twenty20 tournament, Centennials Bulls and Redbacks’ only option is to triumph in what’s essentially become a battle royale of Bathurst-based heavyweights.
For the former, the reigning champions, a third straight group stage defeat would spell the end of their title defence and would unceremoniously thrust them onto the 2018-19 scrapheap.
For the latter, last summer’s runners-up, a loss would all but do the same. Although considering they’ve only played one game so far there would remain a slim chance they could feature in the final four.
That would be tempting fate though, it would leave Bathurst City needing big wins thereafter and several other results to fall their way too.
Redbacks skipper Joey Coughlan knows that too, and he also knows just how tight his side will have to be with the ball considering the Bulls’ power.
Despite the fact they’ve lost to Cavaliers and CYMS, the reigning champions still boast more firepower with the bat than any side in the tournament – think the likes of Josh Toole, Dallas Tilley and reigning joint MVPs Mick Curtale and Ryan Gurney.
The latter’s coming off a swashbuckling ton in Bathurst District Cricket Association’s T20 tournament too.
“Bulls are always good,” Coughlan said, simply.
“Josh Toole and Mick Curtale are playing for them and Ryan Gurney hit a hundred on the weekend, so you can expect runs, runs and runs.
“We’ll have to bowl well, because it’s do-or-die for both of us.”
Bathurst City will face a short turnaround after Friday night’s clash too, they face CYMS next Wednesday.
Friday night’s epic kicks off at 7pm at Wade Park.
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