Welcome back, Al Dhatt.
In his first long-form game since the 2016-17 grand final CYMS' leading spinner of the modern era returned with a bang on Saturday afternoon, picking up exactly where he left off to help his side decimate Bathurst City.
Dhatt, one of the few players remaining who took the field prior to Bathurst-Orange Inter-District Cricket's split all those years ago, tweaked his way to a four-wicket haul at Wade Park, proving class is permanent after almost two years away from the game.
Much to the delight of his green and gold cohort Dhatt used all his guile and smarts to uproot Mark Day (18), Cohen Schubert (25), Oliver Simpson (8) and Jacob Pepper (15), sparking a middle-order collapse that led to Redbacks being skittled for just 131.
The wicket obviously helped me out with a bit of inconsistent bounce. I probably tried to bowl a little straighter and go for the stumps and that paid off.St Pat's Old Boys' Matt Fearnley
He took four of the Bathurst side's final seven wickets, which they ended up losing for just 74 runs, before CYMS rammed home their advantage to finish the day just nine short of first innings points, with six wickets in the bank.
Although his four-wicket haul was never going to be a round-best tally, he clearly made an immediate impact to an attack which had conceded 300 plus in the two rounds prior and somewhat lacked the ability to control the tempo of games with he ball.
Cavaliers' Charlie Greer was the best of the Orange's sides' bowlers on Saturday afternoon, taking his first bagful since joining the maroons from Kinross, snaring the wickets of City Colts' Dave Sellers (10), Henry Shoemark (66), Pat Hill (8) Jacob Bognuda (0) and Tom Murray (0).
He finished with 5-34 from his 10 overs at Riawena Oval and while his side is 3-98 in reply to City Colts' 195, there's no denying the fact the opening day of the fourth round really belonged to Bathurst's Matt Fearnley.
The St Pat's Old Boys veteran had the ball on a string at Kinross Main Oval as he destroyed the students' top order to finish with remarkable figures of 7-49, his best since claiming a ridiculous eight-wicket haul in Bathurst's top grade in 2016-17.
"It's an awesome feeling. We won the toss and, knowing that James Larkin was away, we had to back our bowling so I'm glad I was able to do that," Fearnley said after his stunning haul, which helped roll the students for just 152.
"The wicket obviously helped me out with a bit of inconsistent bounce. I probably tried to bowl a little straighter and go for the stumps and that paid off. With that variable bounce I was just trying to hit that off peg.
"I guess I've still got it so I'll have to play for a bit longer now ... I haven't got that many wickets in one day for several years."
Fearnley trapped in-form Kinross skipper Will Luelf (0) in front with his first ball of the day, setting the tone for his massive afternoon.
In sending Max Powell (12), Alex Brien (3), Harry May (7), Mac Webster (4) and Nick Rasmussen (0) back to the pavilion too he snared Kinross' first six wickets for just 36, leaving the students reeling before claiming one more in Hugh McIntyre (3).
He virtually did it on his own too, five of those seven wickets were either bowled or leg before.
Fearnley's seven-wicket haul comes after a consistent start to the summer, the former Mitchell Cricket Council seamer is among the front-runners in the competition's wicket-taking stakes with 14 scalps at a miserly 15.8, with two more in the Twenty20 Royal Hotel Cup too.
With almost 30 overs left in the day Bailey Brien (26 not out) and Andrew Brown (14 not out) made their side's day two chase considerably easier, knocking off 48 in the dying stages of the afternoon.
The weekend's other best-performed bowlers were Centrals' Matt Ripps (4-14) and Zac Reimer (4-12) while for the first time this summer it wasn't a day for the batters.
Blake Aubin's 81 for Centennials and Henry Shoemark's 66 were the best of the willow-wielders, although CYMS' Tom Belmonte (63 not out), Centrals' Fletcher Rose (54 not out) and Jake Pauletto (51 not out) along with Cavaliers' Matt Corben (44 not out) do have the chance to go big next weekend.
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