Stunning pre-season favourites City Colts last weekend was proof enough Kinross can mix it with the best in this summer's Bathurst-Orange Inter-District Cricket title race, and James Larkin said that will all come down to belief for the students.
'One bad hour' put the students on the back foot in their season-opener but Kinross learned from that defeat and promptly picked up first innings points on last Saturday's opening day of their second-round clash with City Colts at Bathurst's Loco Oval.
They needed just 37 overs to skittle the pre-season favourites before comfortably passing their target of 183 for the loss of five wickets, then building a 20-run lead by stumps, which they'll look to extend when the clash resumes this weekend.
It really is just about belief and not getting overawed ... because these kids are just as good as the other sides.Kinross' James Larkin
Larkin played a vital role in that by belting 120 at better than a run-a-ball, and even though he won't be on hand to help he's confident his young teammates can finish the job they've started this weekend.
The former Sydney University skipper is on Western Zone duty at this weekend's McDonald's Country Cricket NSW Championship, crucially he'll be joined at Goulburn by City Colts trio Matt Stephen, Henry Shoemark and Jaden Ekert.
"That's it, there's a handful of the City Colts boys in the Western Zone side too so they'll be a bit understrength this weekend, but the boys proved they can match it with them at full-strength last weekend anyway," Larkin said.
"It really is just about belief and not getting overawed by the fact they're playing against men, because these kids are just as good as the other sides, there's some real talent there and they just need to focus on playing good, positive, smart cricket.
"We saw that on the weekend, the boys just kept the pressure on and took the chances when they came and suddenly we're in the position to not just win, but win well, maybe even pick up maximum points if the boys can get themselves in a good enough position.
"First priority for them on the weekend will just be to build on that lead and put the first innings result beyond doubt though."
Larkin does recognise how pivotal his performance will be to the side's hopes in 2019-20 though, but he said he's also enjoying the challenge of being that anchor in the top order.
"I think there will be a bit of pressure on me to score runs but it's good to have that role because I can just go out and bat," Larkin said.
"But in saying that we've already seen a few guys show their ability this season and they'll only get better as the year goes on I think."
One of those players is skipper Will Luelf, who punched out digs of 42 and 63 in Kinross' first-round loss to CYMS. Another is Mac Webster, who remains unbeaten on 33 and will resume at the crease on Saturday afternoon.
"Will's a very good young bat, he did well against CYMS without going on with it," Larkin said.
"Realistically in that CYMS game, we had one bad hour and that proved the difference. We were going along well at 3-160, had a bad hour and got rolled for 190-odd, which happens.
"Mac, though, I was really impressed with him last weekend. He's only in year nine and there was a lot of pressure when he came out to bat at [4-62] last weekend, but he handled it really well and looked really good.
"He maybe listened to the chat out on the field a bit too much and got frustrated at one stage. The Bathurst guys weren't going too hard or anything, it was just general chat, but once Mac figured out it meant nothing he was fine.
"That's comes into the belief, if the guys ignore all that and just focus on what they're doing they'll be fine against all the sides. I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do as a side."
Larkin said he's looking forward to seeing what his Western side can do this weekend too, they face Illawarra in Friday's opening game of the Southern Pool, before taking on ACT-Southern Districts and Riverina over the next two days.
They'll be gunning for a spot in the decider against Newcastle, who progressed courtesy of an undefeated Northern Pool campaign last weekend.
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