THE battle for the last finals spot in this season's Bathurst Orange Inter District Cricket competition just got a whole lot spicier.
Bathurst City's win over the high flying St Pat's Old Boys on Saturday - coupled with defeats for both City Colts and ORC - has heated up the finals race with three rounds to go.
In a match at George Park 1 that was dominated by the bowlers it was Redbacks who came out on top in a two wicket success, with the side hunting down a target of 110.
It brought an end to the Saints' five game winning streak in BOIDC and saw Rugby Union leap Pat's into second spot on the ladder, while Redbacks have moved within two points of the fifth placed Colts.
Redbacks skipper Joey Coughlan said it was one of the sweetest victories for the team in some time.
"It's made things very interesting, hasn't it? We were celebrating last night, watching the results come in, and we thought 'We're a red hot chance now'," he said.
"I said during the week that we needed to win three of those last four games to be a chance. We were expecting the two next games to be the key ones but beating Pat's has made it just that little bit better for us. No-one expected us to win it.
"Pat's got a class bowling attack with their two big boys [Mitch Taylor and Jack Goodsell] and Nic Broes is a great spinner. They were probably just missing Connor Slattery's talent in those middle overs.
Muditha Adikari was indeed a star for Redbacks during a rollercoaster of a chase.
Pat's were in total control with the score at 7-55 before Adikari hit 36 unbeaten runs at close to a run a ball to turn the tide in Bathurst City's favour.
He worked well together with Clint Moxon (14) during a valuable 45 run stand for the eighth wicket before he went on to finish the job himself, ending his day with five fours and a six.
Coughlan can't speak highly enough of what Adikari has brought to the club.
"He's my favourite cricketer. He's a legend on and off the field," he said.
"He loves getting back to the pub and tipping a few in with the boys. He wouldn't stop shouting everyone and he was the one that won us the game. He's fitted in so seamlessly to this team and he's pretty much the first one picked every week, because I know what he can do."
No other Saints batsman was able to go alongside Derryn Clayton (42) on a tough day for the batsmen, with Ben Orme the best of the Redbacks bowlers with 3-23.
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