UNITED captain Ricky Campbell will continue with his new two-prong spin attack in tomorrow’s Mid North Coast Premier League clash against Kempsey side Nulla at Port Macquarie’s Wayne Richards Park.
This will also mean Campbell will bowl less overs. Tom Burley has been better known as a seamer but his left arm off spinners claimed five wickets in United’s win against Port City a fortnight ago. Campbell is keen to continue with Burley bowling in tandem with Danial Stone, allowing Jackson Witts and Jordan Gilfillan top open the bowling. Campbell and Zac Sheather, who claimed four wickets in the recent win over Wingham, will share the remaining overs. Campbell has provided the spin option for United in recent seasons. This year he has claimed eight wickets at an average of 18.38.
“Coming around the wicket Tom’s left arm off spin in a different angle for batsmen,'’ Campbell explained.
‘”He took five/for last match, so I’m happy for him to keep bowling spin.’’
Successive wins over Port City and Wingham has lifted United to third spot on the ladder. With leaders Macquarie to meet second place United this weekend, Campbell said a win over the Kempsey combination could elevate his side to second.
Campbell added there’s some extra spice in the game following some comments made in the Macleay media regarding United’s standing in the competition. He said his side is fired up to repeat the comfortable win they had over Nulla in the first round.
He is also confident his side’s over the yips that plagued them leading into Christmas and saw them tumble out of the top four at one stage.
“Our bowling’s pretty settled down and our batting is getting there,’’ he said.
“We’re at full strength again this week and having the same side for a couple of games in a row also helps.’’
However, Campbell is resigned to being without pace ace Sam Whitebread for the remainder of the season. A recruit this season from Great Lakes, Whitebread has joined the army and it is unlikely be will be available for cricket commitments.
Whitbread had been one of the success stories of the summer. Despite not playing in the last three matches, he remains the second best performing Manning bowler in the premier league.
From six matches Whitbread had claimed 18 wickets at 7.44 to be fifth on the list of wicket takers. Josh Hyde from Macquarie Hotel has 25 wickets to be the best of the bowlers. Hyde’s average is 8.64. Ryan Williams is the best of the Manning bowlers. He’s in fourth place and has 19 wickets at 9.05 from nine games.
Nervous wait for Scowen
WINGHAM captain Ben Scowen could be a late withdrawal from the side to take on Macquarie in the top-of-the-table Mid North Coast Premier League cricket clash at Wingham tomorrow.
Scowen’s partner is due to give birth to their first child today.
“So I don’t know if I’ll be playing or not,’’ Scowen said yesterday.
“I’ll just have to wait and see.’’
Wingham has the opportunity to secure equal top spot on the ladder by accounting for the Port Macquarie-based club. Wingham surged into second spot on the strength of five consecutive wins after a slow start to the season, before losing to United last match.
Depending on Scowen’s availability Wingham should be at full strength for the match. Michael Rees will be hoping his second game with the club will be more successful than his comeback appearance when he was judged to be leg before first ball, although Scowen claimed he received a rough call.
“It looked like it was going to miss by two foot,’’ he said.
Rees will open the batting with his brother, David and also provide a spin bowling option.
While Wingham will be gunning for a share of the lead tomorrow, Scowen agreed a loss could see them struggling to stay in the top four if other results go badly for them.
“It’s a close competition and that’s what you want,’’ he said.
“One loss and you can be out of the finals.’’
However, Scowen remains confident that Wingham has the team to match any side in the competition.
The first round encounter was washed out after Wingham posted 170. Both Scowen and Ben Cole were missing on that occasion.
Meanwhile Danny Powick from Kempsey club Rovers remains the leading run scorer in the premier league.
Powick, the first batsman to post a ton in the competition, has accumulated 320 runs at 40 with 130 his highest score. Despite playing just three matches Murray McCartney from United fills second position with 279 runs at 55.80. This is the best average in the competition. Jesse Schmitdt from Port City follows with 263 at 26.30 with Taree West captain Josh Meldrum fourth on the list. Meldrum has compiled 259 at 32.38. His best score is 75.