Can Lightning strike again in the semis?
Lithgow will enter the 2017-18 Royal Hotel Cup semi-finals as firm title favourites, after finishing its preliminary campaign undefeated thanks to a commanding win over ORC at Wade Park on Friday night, February 9.
Although the eight-wicket victory wasn’t enough to boost the Lightning’s net run rate high enough to finish first, considering they are defending champions and had a slightly tougher draw than the also-undefeated CYMS, it’s tough to deny Lithgow the tag of front-runners.
It’s tough to deny Lithgow the tag of front-runners.
The Lightning produced a pretty well-rounded performance to defeat ORC too.
The Lightning strangled ORC with the ball, eventually bowling the Tigers out for just 94 with two balls remaining in the innings.
Then they made pretty light work of the chase, winning with eight wickets and almost eight overs left in the bank as well, continuing to build on their reputation as competition’s premier chasers.
In the last two seasons the Lightning have won eight of their nine games, including finals, and have chased in every single one of them – that one loss was to CYMS last summer.
The smallest of those victories has been by four wickets, that was over Cavaliers in December last year. In round three, Lightning defeated Centennials by nine wickets.
Following the final preliminary games – in which Centennials play Orange City then Kinross – the Royal Hotel Cup semi-finals will be played on February 21 and February 23 before the final on Friday, March 2.
Lithgow looks most likely to face either Orange City or Centennials Bulls in its semi-final, although Bathurst City and Cavaliers do still hold slim hopes of sneaking in if other results fall their way.
ORC finished eighth, with no wins from four starts in its first foray back into Orange District Cricket Association’s day-night tournament.