Three new cricket captains for Manning first grade cricket

All rounder Danial Stone will help spearhead the Old Bar attack, alongside Ben Cole and David Rees.
All rounder Danial Stone will help spearhead the Old Bar attack, alongside Ben Cole and David Rees.

AS is the case with the highest office in the land, three of the four teams in this season's Manning first grade cricket competition will have new leaders.

The opening round of the season will start tomorrow.

Once again just four teams will contest the first grade title, seven in second grade and eight in thirds.

In first grade defending premier United will take on Old Bar at Chatham Park in a repeat of last year's epic final.

In the other match Wingham tackles Taree West at Cedar Party Reserve.

Both are two day fixtures.

The strengths of both United and Old Bar remain intact with little change to their personnel from last season.

Ricky Campbell will once again lead the Chatham-based side, which boasts both last season's leading run scorer in Josh Ferris, and top wicket taker, Tom Burley.

Batting support will be supplied by experienced Matt Kennewell and Matt Collier while Jackson Witts will lead the pace attack.

I expect left armer Brock Stewart to build on his late season performances and trouble opposing top order batting.

On the debit side United has lost finger spinner Dean Mills to Taree West and keeper Jonathan Burton to Old Bar.

Old Bar has a change in captaincy with talented all-rounder Paxton Kelly taking the reins.

Kelly was considering a switch back to Wingham but was swayed by the offer of leading the seaside team.

Ben Cole, Danial Stone and David Rees will once again spearhead the Seasiders challenge while Blake Polson has left Taree West to join his brothers in the Old Bar ranks.

I expect another close contest in this match.

Kelly, Cole and Rees are the only Manning players selected in the Macquarie Coast Stingers side to play Northern Inland at Tamworth in the State-wide regional T20 competition known as the Plan B Regional Big Bash. This game will be played on Sunday October 18.

Wingham also has a change of leader ship with experienced Matt Essery taking over from Brad Staff.

Essery has a wealth of leadership and first grade experience and will be looking for more out of the Wingham batsmen in particular.

In that regard Brock Hynes is welcomed back after missing last season through injury.

Newcomer Josh Davis joins the side from the Upper Hunter and looks handy with both bat and ball.

Otherwise the team will be basically the same.

Ryan Williams will again lead the pace attack with backup from the ultimate competitor, Mick Stinson.

Spinners Staff, Essery and Mitch Niven provide the variety.

Attacking batsman/keeper Ben Marron has taken over from Luke McLeod at Taree West.

The West were hoping for a couple of new additions to their playing roster but recent intel suggests those signings have fallen through.

They will again rely on Paul Cox, Sean Carr and Brian Levi to mentor their junior players into the senior ranks.

I am tipping Wingham to win this one.

The lower grades should again be closely contested with premiers Great Lakes once again expected to be to the fore in seconds and Old Bar and Taree West in thirds.

As has been the case in recent years, the third grade will split when the semi-finals start.

The top four teams will play for the third grade premiership with the remaining four contesting the fourth grade title.

The full draw was to be ratified at an association meeting earlier this week and can be found on the Mycricket website.