TAREE West faces a tough start to the Mid North Coast Premier League cricket season.
The West face premiers Macquarie Hotel tomorrow followed by Wingham and United.
“That’s the top three teams from last year,’’ newly appointed captain Ryan Williams pointed out.
“What we don’t want to do is go 0/3 after three week and be forced to play catch-up. But I’m confident we can win all three.’’
However, Williams said the side will have to show more resolve with the bat this season. That was the side’s downfall in 2017/18 when Taree West just missed a place in the top four.
“I think we only made it over 200 once – we were lucky to get 130 most times,’’ Williams said.
“Our bowling fielding were okay but batting was a real issue for us and that cost up a place in the semi-finals.
“The frustrating thing is that we beat all the top teams. But then we’d lose to the sides below us.’’
Josh Meldrum was the side’s top batsman last season. However, Williams said he lacked support.
“Josh can’t do it all by himself,’’ he said.
“JJ (Burton), Paul Cox, myself, we all have to stand up. All the batsmen have to show more application this season.’’
A newcomer from India will open the batting tomorrow.
“He hasn’t played for a couple of seasons but he’s looked good at practice,’’ Williams said.
Williams said Taree West should have greater depth.
"Josh McLeod’s back and Matt Wesley will be available in a couple of weeks. Brendan Mays has returned here from Queensland and he’ll be first change (bowler) this weekend but will eventually open the attack,’’ he explained.
He added that experienced Trent Thompson will also be available for some matches and he’ll bolster the batting.
This will be Williams’ first crack at captaincy in first grade.
“I’m looking forward to it, I know the administration can be frustrating – making sure we have 11 players every week, but once we get out there I’ll be fine,’’ he said.
“I’ll bounce a few ideas off Josh (Meldrum), the same as he did with me last season.’’
Williams, who leads the attack, was Taree West’s leading bowler last season. He represented Macquarie Stingers in the Big Bash Regional Round at Port Macquarie last weekend.
In the other first round game tomorrow Kempsey club Nulla will meet Port City at South Kempsey. Rovers, from Kempsey will have the bye.
Rees and Scowen to share captaincy
THE captaincy role will be shared at Wingham for this season’s Mid North Coast Premier League cricket competition.
Michael Rees and last summer’s skipper Ben Scowen will be co-captains, at least for the start of the campaign. Wingham meets Port Panthers in the opening round at Cedar Party Reserve at Wingham tomorrow.
“We’ll have Ben for the first couple of weeks, but he’ll be working out of the area, so I don’t know how often he’ll be available after that,’’ Rees explained.
Rees said Wingham will field a similar side this season. Youngster Harrison Clarke from Gloucester is an addition and he’ll bat in the top order.
“He’s looking to step up into a stronger competition this season and he’s looked good at practice,’’ Rees said.
He’s predicting a good season from young quick Ryan Smoothy, who he said showed promise last year.
Rees will be keen to bat first tomorrow if he wins the toss, although rain this week could cause a re-think.
“You can usually expect a road at Cedar Party,’’ he said.
Mills links with United
UNITED’S Mid North Coast Premier League cricket stocks have been bolstered by the signing of representative all-rounder Dean Mills for the 2018/19 season.
Mills played with the club before switching to Taree West. He is a former Northern NSW representative, although his appearances in the premier league were limited last season.
Mills will open the batting for United with Zac Sheather in the first round tomorrow while he’ll also add to the side’s spin battery.
United will play Wauchope RSL tomorrow at Chatham Park.
Skipper Ricky Campbell believes United will field a stronger team than last summer.
“We’ve lost Jordy Gilfillan and Danial Stone, but we’ve picked up Millsie as well as Ryan Yates from Gloucester,’’ he said.
“Ryan scored some runs for the Stingers in the Big Bash last weekend and he’ll bat at three for us.’’
Campbell will come in at four followed by Tom Burley. Sam Whitbread and Jackson Witts will open the bowling and Campbell said he has plenty of options with his attack. He said it is important for United to get off to a good start. The side slumped just before and after the Christmas break last season and while they went onto make the semi-finals, Campbell agreed they didn’t ever regain their mojo.