A lack of commitment from players is a major reason Taree West is currently languishing with the also-rans in this season’s Mid North Coast Premier League cricket competition.
A humiliating loss to Macquarie last weekend has all but ended Taree West’s hopes of playing semi-finals
Taree West meets United on Saturday at the Johnny Martin Oval, a game club president Kris Ball admits is ‘do or die’ as far as Taree West’s fading top four aspirations is concerned.
Ball concedes a loss could have Taree West struggling to avoid the wooden spoon, as they’re currently in second last place.
“Our performance against Macquarie last week wasn’t up to premier league standard,’’ Ball said.
Macquarie made 5/216 and Taree West could only manage 55 in reply after being 5/12 at one point.
Skipper Josh Meldrum fell for a duck and Ball said he'll be keen to atone against United.
“I think he’ll have a big one this week,’’ he said.
Taree West has battled all summer, save for two games just before the Christmas break.
Ball is convinced that when at full strength Taree West can test any side in the premier league, with players the calibre of Meldrum, Ryan Williams, Paul Cox, JJ Burton and Josh McLeod.
However, the unavailability of key players and an at times lax attitude has been their downfall, he added.
Taree West is in the cellar in second grade while the third grade is just out of the top four.
“But the second grade has had the eyes picked out of them by the premier league team,’’ Ball added.
“If we get all our premier league’s best players there, the fringe players can drop back to second grade to make that team stronger. Then players from there go back to thirds. If goes right through the club.’’
Taree West will be closer to full strength tomorrow with the return of Paul Cox, Rod Ellis and Lachlan Brown. Ball said they’ll take an extra batsman into the game.
He insists the club will be in the premier league for many years to come.
“We’re the only club in Taree with juniors,’’ Ball pointed out.
He said there are some talented young players coming through the ranks, although they’re not ready for premier league yet.
“They’re about a year away,’’ he said.
This season the club has given three players aged 16 a chance in the premier league.
Taree West just missed a berth in last season’s semi-finals, recovering from a poor start to make a charge in the second section of the campaign.
There are seven matches to be played in this year’s competition-proper. Taree West has 27 points, with fourth placed Port City on 40.