INJURIES and work commitments have hit Wingham hard going into the Manning first grade grand final against United this weekend at Chatham Park.
Wingham will be without brothers Daine and Ryan Williams who will be working while injury will rule out Wayne Smoothy and Ryan Morris.
Adding to the problem is the fact the club's three grades will be playing this weekend. However, captain Adam Carney said first grade takes top priority and for that reason second grade captain Matt Essery would stay in first grade. Essery scored an important 30 in Old Bar's outright win over Old Bar in the final last weekend.
Carney missed last week's win with injury but is a definite starter.
He admits the Williams brothers will be missed.
"They've bought a lot to the club this year with their enthusiasm and work ethic,'' Carney said.
Daine has been in good form with the bat and ball while he has bowled well in tandem with his brother.
Former first grade captain Stu Baker has answered the call to step into first grade.
Baker had played a few games in first and reserve grade this season but Carney has no doubt that he'll be right.
"He's been at the nets all week and he's been playing twilight all season,'' he pointed out.
"Stu's a competitor. He'll be fine.''
Carney said that Baker would be used as an all-rounder.
He added that Wingham go into the game full of confidence on the strength of some outstanding form since Christmas. Wingham beat United the last time the sides met before accounting for Taree West in the minor semi and Old Bar in the final.
Like his United counterpart Ricky Campbell, Carney would usually have no hesitation in batting if he won the toss. However, like Campbell, Carney was concerned about the prospect of wet weather.
"If there's a bit of rain about then I might have a bowl,'' he said.
Brad Staff captained Wingham in Carney's absence last weekend. Carney pointed out that Staff has taken crucial wickets and scored important runs in recent matches and will be a trump this weekend.