BEN Middlebrook has made a remarkable recovery from his shoulder injury last week and could play in tomorrow’s Country Shield clash with Tamworth Gold at Wolseley Park.
If he pulls through, and with Matt Brady back in the lineup, the home side looks more capable, especially in the batting stakes.
“It strengthens up our batting and our bowling lineup,” co-captain Troy Sands said.
“It gives us some more depth.
“The way we batted last week, I was pretty happy with it.
“We batted out the 50 overs, which was good.”
If the home side bats first again it can aim to better last week’s 133 against the Tamworth first XI.
Cameron Milne had to take most of the responsibility with the bat but, with co-captain Middlebrook and Brady also in the top order, Gunnedah might push for at least 50 more.
“It’s a deck you could get 200 on,” Sands said.
“It can be a bit variable – some balls can keep low, especially in the second innings.
“So we’ll try to set a good total and, with the bowling attack we’ve got, we’ve got plenty of options.”
Tamworth’s top side proved too good last week and that has also been the case in the Country Cup in recent years.
But this Tamworth Gold side is a much younger team and the Country Shield gives the likes of Gunnedah the chance to progress without running into the top Tamworth side.
“I think we’re a good shot,” Sands said.
“We’ll definitely go in confident.
“I think it will help our chances because when you run into Tamworth in the first or second game, which we have the last few years, it’s been a tough game against the quality and depth in their side.
“It should be a good experience for the younger players.”
GUNNEDAH: Troy Sands (c), Ben Middlebrook (c), Matt Brady, Cameron Milne, Farran Lamb, Andrew Darley, Ben Haire, Sam Doubleday, Blake Small, Jay Urquhart, Karthikeyan Muthusamy, R. Cooper.
TAMWORTH COLTS: Nick Pearson (c), Layne Berry, George Harradine, Matt Kent, Matt Everett, Scott De Weymarn, Riley Ayre, Hamish Batley, Ted Alderton, Will Howard, Angus McNeil, Luke Paterson.