WINGHAM captain Michael Rees has backed top batsman Ben Cole to return to form in the last month of the Mid North Coast Premier League cricket competition.
Cole has endured a barren season. His 10 visits to the crease have resulted in just 88 runs with a top score of 34. His average is 12.57.
"Ben's been a bit lean on runs,'' Rees agreed.
"But I'll always back him in big games.''
Saturday's game against United would appear the perfect time for Bole to get among the runs. A loss for Wingham at Cedar Party Reserve could see the side drop down to third place if Wauchope RSL wins. On the flip side a victory would mean Wingham finish the minor premier.
Rees has said all season Wingham's batting has been the problem and this was apparent in the loss to Rovers last weekend when they were unable to run down 146. The resulted in Wingham losing the competition lead to United going into the last round of the competition-proper.
Wingham's record this season suggests they lift for matches against the stronger sides and Rees is confident this will be the case on Saturday.
Wingham's second grade has qualified for the grand final to be played on Saturday March 30 so Rees looks set to call on a couple of their players for tomorrow's game.
"Jake Mullen's been scoring runs this season and Blake Sky's been good so I'll be looking at them.''
Rees will bat first if he wins the toss.
"We seem to be better at defending scores than chasing them,'' he said.
United poised to take minor premiership
UNITED will take a four point buffer into Saturday's minor premiership-deciding Mid North Coast Premier League cricket clash against Wingham at Cedar Party Reserve.
This will be the last round before the start of the semi-finals. United sits on 73 points, with Wingham on 69. Wauchope RSL is third on 67 and can secure a top two berth should Wingham lose to United, making a great finale to the competition-proper.
United go into the game at full strength and are fresh from a week off after Nulla forfeited last weekend's game.
"Our second grade will be playing in the final, but I'll be taking my strongest side into our game,'' United captain Ricky Campbell said.
He confirmed that veteran all-rounder Murray McCartney will play seconds. McCartney has been troubled by a hamstring strain and has only just resumed playing.
However, Campbell said McCartney will be right in the mix for selection in the team for the premier league semi-finals if he makes it through this weekend without any problems.
Other than a hiccup in the return game from the Christmas break on February 2, United's form has been exemplary in the last month Campbell said.
"We're playing good cricket and now we're gearing up for the semi-finals. We're determined to finish with the minor premiership,'' Campbell said.