IT was the final most were expecting, but not the close contest they would have predicted.
The Mitchell T20 Cup is back in Bathurst's hands after they hammered Orange by 52 runs in Sunday's final at Morse Park 1.
Bathurst were relentless in the field, cutting down every Orange top and middle order partnership before it could gain the slightest bit of traction.
They had Orange reeling at 7-28 in their pursuit of 128 runs and, despite some late highlights from Angus Le Lievre (35), there was to be no miracle comeback.
Dave Sellers was the pick of the Bathurst batsmen. He followed up his 25 not out from the semi-final win against Lithgow earlier in the day with another top score of 52 in the decider.
Bathurst's bowling attack was on fire across both matches, with Matt Stephen (3-24) the leading wicket taker in the final.
Stephen picked up the huge wickets of Lachie Coyte and Matt Corben in successive deliveries to spark an unprecedented Orange collapse of 6-18.
The win brings Bathurst back level with Orange in the T20 title tally, with each association now boasting two wins in the Mitchell tournament.
Bathurst skipper Adam Ryan said it was a fantastic feeling to right the wrong of the team's performance from last season's edition of the T20 event.
"The attitude and commitment of the players was great today. We were taught a lesson last year that you can never let your guard down at this representative level," he said.
"I couldn't have asked for anything more from the boys with the way they played today. It was gutsy and there's a few wounded guys walking around, but that's a big part of Bathurst cricket. It's about playing with heart and turning up for each other."
Orange skipper Ed Morrish said the collapse left the team in a massive hole it couldn't dig its way out of.
"It's too hard to come back when you lose early wickets, and they were consistent wickets too," he said.
"We didn't apply ourselves with the bat ... but over the two games I thought we bowled and fielded really well. The talent's there, it's just about the application.
"Bathurst bowled really well but we needed that application with the bat if we wanted to chase it down."
Sellers got going quickly in the final with early boundaries but Jaden Ekert (4) only hung around until the fourth over.
Henry Shoemark (19) was in an aggressive mood early, hitting Morrish for back-to-back sixes, but he was soon clean bowled by Hugh Le Lievre.
Ryan (18) also made a start before he became what would be the first of four Mark Maybin scalps (4-17).
Maybin, along with Hugh Middleton (1-13), put the brakes on the Bathurst run rate.
Bathurst were on pace for a big score after reaching the 10th over at 2-72 but Orange's energy in the field was rewarded.
Sellers' dismissal took the wind out of Bathurst's sails and no batsman at five or lower would reach double figures.
Orange's chase got off to a nightmare start, and it never got much better.
Kaleb Cook (0), fresh off a Bathurst Orange Inter District Cricket century the day before, lasted just three deliveries as he was trapped in front of his wicket by Mitch Taylor.
Then the big double came in Stephen's second over of the day.
Coyte (8) was caught by Dave Henderson at first slip before Corben was caught by Bathurst's other man in the slips cordon, Connor Slattery, when he walked down the wicket on his first ball.
It was a blow Orange never recovered from.
They would lose six wickets in the space of eight overs.
Remaining opener Max Powell (4) was castled by Taylor and Fletcher Rose (10) gave Stephen his third wicket as the Bathurst bowled latched onto a ball sent spiralling into the heavens.
Henderson wasn't just making contributions in the field, he was doing it with the ball.
In the first delivery of his innings he sent Hugh Middleton (0) packing as the bails went flying, then completed a wicket maiden by having Morrish (0) caught by Ben Parsons at gully.
Even at seven wickets down it was still a realistic, if ambitious, required run rate of 7.7 for Orange.
Angus Le Lievre tried his best to keep that rate down with a wide range of strokes across the ground while Angus Cumming (9) kept watch at the other end.
Some Ekert magic in the field broke the partnership at 25 when underarm flick at the bowlers' stumps caught Cumming short of the mark.
Le Lievre was joined by brother Hugh at the crease but their time together lasted even less, just 20 runs, when the latter was cleaned bowled taking on Jameel Qureshi.
Angus Le Lievre's entertaining knock was eventually stopped when he lofted a shot off Qureshi's bowling to Ekert.
There had been uncertainty among the Bathurst camp about whether their 128 would be enough to win against a quality Orange squad but after an amazing day in the field they got their answer.
Bathurst earned their place in the decider with a thumping six wicket win over Lithgow earlier in the day.
The hosts' bowling attack rarely put a foot wrong as they limited Lithgow to just 5-86 from their 20 overs.
Qureshi starred with 2-12 while Stephen proved impossible to put away, as he ended up with an economical 0-9 from his four overs.
Slattery (1-7), Taylor (1-12) and Henderson (1-18) were the other wicket takers.
Opener Ryan Gurney was the only bright spot for Lithgow with 32 off 23 balls, clearing the boundary rope on three occasions.
Bathurst's tight bowling limited the visitors to just six boundaries.
Ekert (25) and Sellers' quick starts with the bat put Bathurst on top early in the chase.
The team lost four wickets along the way but still caught the total with eight overs to spare.
"Forty more runs might have been handy. We bowled excellent, which was great considering half those boys are Central West Wranglers players," Lithgow captain Ryan Gurney said.
"The field was a bit up and down but it was like that for us as well."
It was a similarly one-sided clash in the other semi-final as Orange account for Cowra by eight wickets.
Ed Morrish (3-10) and Angus Cumming (3-11) ripped through the Cowra order to have the team all out for 82.
After a couple of early wickets in their chase Orange found the total with ease through Kaleb Cook (41 not out) and Matt Corben (28 not out).
Orange caught the target with six overs remaining.
"We didn't bat well enough. We were never in line to get a decent total," Cowra captain Mick Curtale said.
"We thought if we took early wickets, like we did, we could make a game of it. We had them 2-18 and then we grassed a chance and they were way too good.
"We knew it wasn't enough. It had to be one of those miracle days."
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