Taree West will head into their round two clash in the McDonalds Premier Cricket League match with United under the leadership of new captain Josh Meldrum.
Meldrum will take over from Dean Mills.
The side will feature a few new faces, such as former Wingham pace bowler Ryan Williams and Newcastle Knights rugby league development player Harry Croker.
“It’s a new, younger team,” he said. “I’m pretty excited.”
Meldrum said a first round bye was a “blessing in disguise”, with several players still finalising their commitment to the team or ruled out for the season with injury.
“It’s been a bit of a kick in the guts but we’ll still pull together and get 11,” he said.
He added that it will take a collaborative group effort to knock off the premiers of the former Manning A grade competition.
“They’ll be tough to beat and were impressive last week,” Meldrum said.
If forced to bowl first, he was hopeful that a few quick wickets could rattle the side.
With the make up of the side to take on United still unknown, Meldrum said he would feature regardless in the top order.
“Ideally I’d bat at four but it’s possible I’ll be three,” he said.
Weather and wicket permitting, Meldrum said he would consider batting first if he won the toss.
United captain Ricky Campbell confirmed that the team would field the same 11 that rolled Port Panthers Pirates for just 65 last week.
Strike batsman Josh Ferris featured in a fielding capacity against the Pirates and failed to bat or bowl. He has been has been ruled out of Saturday’s clash with injury. Campbell was disappointed he would be absent.
“He’s one of our top order batsmen,” Campbell said.
With predictions of threatening rain during the match, he said that the side won’t let a slow outfield derail their plans.
“We hit a few over the fence last week so it shouldn’t be an issue,” Campbell said.
He said United would need to capitalise on opportunities in the field and highlighted Meldrum as a key component of the West attack.
“They are an aggressive side,” he said.
Action gets underway from 1pm at Chatham Park.