Colts evolve into an all-round threat

WHETHER you love them or hate them, you have to give it to RSL-Colts - they know how to win.

After seven years at the top of Dubbo cricket, their reign came tumbling down in last season's Whitney Cup decider against Rugby.

After that there was only two ways things could have gone. With their streak over the desire could have waned and they came back into the pack or they fired back up in an attempt to regain what they believe is rightfully theirs.

To their credit they have chosen the latter.

With a new captain, Chris Morton, at the helm and the innovative idea to import an English player, all-rounder Greg Buckley, Colts have rejuvenated themselves and find themselves atop the ladder during the Christmas break, albeit by just 0.07 points.

And they have done it largely without their top paceman Tim Cox and with their much-vaunted batting lineup drifting in and out of form.

Their only loss was by one wicket against Macquarie in round three in a one-day clash

Brad Cox is the only Colt inside the Whitney Cup top five batting aggregate ladder, tallying up 392 runs at an average of 78.4 courtesy of two half-centuries and two tons.

Buckley (292 runs at 58.4) sits in seventh while wicketkeeper-batsman Jason Ryan is 13th with 216 runs at 43.2.

Across the years Colts' dominance has largely been based around their batting, and while the trio mentioned have carried the load, their next-highest scorer is Morton with just 104 runs.

This is where Colts have evolved.

Without Tim Cox for most of the first half of the season, rather than try to replace him Colts have turned to a variety of spin and the decision has reaped rewards.

Left-arm othodox bowler Matt Saul sits atop the bowling leaderboard with 14 wickets at an average of 14, and when he isn't taking wickets he is able to bowl long, tight spells and apply pressure.

Off-spinner Buckley is sixth with 11 wickets at an average of 16.18 while young gun Will Wolter has picked up nine wickets in his three matches at an average of 9.67 with his left-arm leg-spin.

With the representative season winding down after the break it will allow the likes of Ryan, Buckley, Morton and the Cox brothers the chance to focus solely on their Whitney Cup commitments and with a top two spot pretty much all but sewn up at this point, one can sense they will try and build up to an expected battle with Rugby for top spot and an automatic grand final berth.

That battle will resume on January 5 when the two clubs do battle in a one-day game at No.3 Oval.

Three weeks later they will square off again in a two-day clash at Lady Cutler 2.

Despite other teams, notably CYMS and Macquarie, improving so far this season, with the ladder the way it is these matches between Colts and Rugby will go a long way to determining how this season will play out, at least as far as the race for the first spot in the decider.

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