Zac Sheather returns to bolster United's top order batting

Veteran allrounder Murray McCartney will be a key player for United in this season's McDonalds Mid North Coast Premier League to start on Saturday.
Veteran allrounder Murray McCartney will be a key player for United in this season's McDonalds Mid North Coast Premier League to start on Saturday.

UNITED’S already impressive batting line-up has received a further boost with confirmation that Zac Sheather will be playing with the club in this season’s McDonalds Mid North Coast Premier League competition.

Sheather is likely to bat three, with Josh Ferris and Matt Collier to open. Murray McCartney and skipper Ricky Campbell will make an imposing top order. Sheather started playing cricket in the Manning and is the son of former leading Taree Leagues batsman, Duane Sheather.

“Zac’s been playing first grade in Newcastle and that’s a pretty strong comp,’’ Campbell said.

United open their premier league campaign tomorrow against Port Pirates at Chatham Park. Three former Great Lakes juniors, Zac Withers, Sam Whitebread and Liam Simpson will make their debuts with the club. All played B-grade last season and Campbell said they’ll be eased into the premier league.

“It’ll be a bit of a step up for them from B-grade, so we’ll give them a month to find their feet,’’ Campbell said.

He admits to knowing little about Port Pirates and this will make the clash even more interesting.

“I don’t recognise any of their names from rep cricket –  I looked at their stats from My Cricket,’’ Campbell explained.

“So we don’t know much about them and they won’t know much about us.’’

Campbell said this will be a common in the debut season of the premier league, to be contested by nine clubs from the Manning, Hastings and Macleay.

However, one thing is certain. Campbell said he will bat first if he calls correctly at the toss tomorrow.

“It’s been pretty dry around here and the rain we had earlier in the week won’t do any damage,’’ he said.

“So I’ll be looking to bat first and get a few runs on the board.’’

United was the dominate club in Manning first grade cricket for the past four years.

Campbell said it will now be a challenge to extend that domination to the Mid North Coast Premier League.

The new competition will be played over 18 rounds.

The final matches before Christmas are set down for December 16 with play to resume on January 13.

The sides will be involved and they’ll l play each other twice on a home and away basis, although when Manning and Macleay clubs clash it will be at a venue in the Hastings to cut down on travel.

However, as reported earlier the Mid North Coast First XI competition has been scrapped because of the start premier league. Manning, Hastings and Macleay will still meet in the popular under 19 and over 35 fixtures.