Gunnedah expects to get a young talent boost for their “must win” Connolly Cup away clash against Moree on Sunday.
Gunnedah captain Blake Small bemoaned the loss of players to the town’s War Veterans Cup side in a last-start loss to Narrabri at Wolseley Oval.
But with the War Veterans Cup side not playing this week, Small expects to have a much stronger lineup to confront Moree with.
That included, he said, talented youngster Kaleb McIlveen, Adam McGuirk and, potentially, Hayden Baker.
However, Small said he needed to find out if McIlveen, McGuirk and Baker were eligible to play, given their War Veterans Cup experience. He is confident they will be eligible to play against a third-placed Moree side who have one win from three matches.
Fourth-placed Gunnedah, the defending champions, missed a golden opportunity to be undefeated after two matches when they were seemingly cruising to victory against Narrabri, at 3-101 chasing 130, before being dismissed for 121.
Small had not named a side as of Wednesday night, but said: “It will be a lot stronger side than what we played Narrabri with.
“It should nearly be the same team that we played Gwydir with.”
Gunnedah won that match by nine wickets. The side on that day included McIlveen, McGuirk and Baker.
“We should be able to bounce back, especially with those young blokes coming back from the first XI,” Small aid.
“I'm expecting them to come back,” he added.
“They should be allowed to come back.”
Despite the loss to Narrabri, which Small described as a “very, very hard loss”, the skipper has focused on what he regards as a positive from that encounter – the fact that the side almost batted out their 50 overs.
“Even though we lost, we still batted out our 50 overs, which is great,” he said, but added: “It was a very disappointing loss.
“In saying that, we had a lot of ring-ins that week against Narrabri. If we had our full side, I expected us to beat them.”
Small said Moree would have a “solid” bowling attack, as usual, in a match Gunnedah had to win to stay alive in the competition.
“If we have the openers to last their opening bowlers out, we should be right, I think ” he said.
“That’s the best thing they’ve got with them – their bowling attack.”