Wade Park looks like it'll be every bit a batters' paradise in this summer but with a stunning, 10-wicket haul against Centrals on Saturday, Orange City's Brett Causer provided Bathurst-Orange Inter-District Cricket's bowlers with the perfect blueprint for success on the hard, flat deck.
In his words, "there's going to be a lot of runs scored on that wicket, so bowlers just have to grind it out".
Causer did that and then some on the opening round's second day by steamrolling his way to match figures of 10-53 which, if you take the cards on face value, made the deck look anything but the 'highway' he described it as.
The last five-wicket haul I took was actually back when I was still trying to bowl flat-out, so I guess it's come from being a bit smarter about it now.Orange City seamer Brett Causer
Causer took five and gave Orange City the chance to chase maximum points as Centrals barely cracked triple figures in their first innings, in reply to the Warriors' 4-347 declared, and backed that up with five more in the red and blacks' second dig after they were forced to follow on.
He bowled Will Richard (3) then trapped Rowan Dray and Logan Buckley in front without scoring to leave Centrals reeling at 3-3, before taking the scalps of Daryl Kennewell (1) and Cam Rasmussen (3) to clean the red and blacks up for just 111, finishing with 5-21.
In taking 5-31 in the second innings he sent Buckley (12) and Kennewell (10) packing again, uprooted Ben Winslade and Zac Reimer for ducks and ended a rearguard effort from Fletcher Rose (73), the latter's dig did help Centrals avoid the outright though.
"It's certainly a good way to start the season, with Ed (Morrish) and I both away last week I'm glad we won the toss and batted on that first day, might not have had the chance otherwise," Causer said.
"The last five-wicket haul I took was actually back when I was still trying to bowl flat-out, so I guess it's come from being a bit smarter about it now I'm reining that in.
"Still, I think even Centrals would admit they don't have the deepest batting line up so I'm taking it with a grain of salt in a way.
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"In saying that it was bloody hard work out there so it was nice to get them, there's nothing at all in that deck and I'd say there'll be a lot of big, big scores put up on that wicket."
To combat the flat deck Causer said his plan, and the entire attack's, was just to 'bowl stump-to-stump, stay patient and wait for them to make a mistake'.
"I just straightened up because there wasn't any movement and set a ring field to try and build enough pressure to force them to make a mistake, it's something Jackson Coote used to do really well on that kind of deck before he moved away," Causer said.
"Although, as a group we probably didn't get that quite right enough, even though a comprehensive win like that is a good result in the first round we probably let an outright slip away.
"Granted Fletch batted well in the second innings, just played his natural game despite the situation and he got a lot of help from Rowan Dray, who opened the batting and finished 13 not out from 47 overs.
"Actually, young Harry McGregor really found his rhythm in that first innings though and I'm looking forward to seeing him step into Coote's shoes a bit, I think he might be in for a bit of a breakout year."
Cavaliers' tweaker Gus Cumming also had a great day with the ball, taking three more scalps to go with his two day one wickets against St Pat's Old Boys. Although his side fell short, taking 5-47 on debut for his new club was the perfect start for Cumming.
With the bat there was a number of stand-out performances, with CYMS' Tom Belmonte (108) and Bathurst City captain Joey Coughlan (130) both passing triple figures after resuming unbeaten, while St Pat's Old Boys skipper Adam Ryan punched out a match-winning 86.
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