West Tamworth skipper Dave Mudaliar has rated City United a much tougher proposition this season, with No.3 Tom Fitzgerald a big reason for that.
Mudaliar expects a “real tough game” against City in a one-dayer at Riverside 2 on Saturday, as the side not only benefits from Fitzgerald’s good form but what he has labelled an improved attitude.
He said: “They’re a highly competitive side. They’ve got a lot of good players. It will be a tough game.
“We’ll be bang up for it. We’re still confident. We’ll go into the game with the right attitude but it will be real tough to come away with the win.”
The Wests captain said he had “meaningful chats” with Fitzgerald “about cricket and life” when the City linchpin played for Filey in England’s north this year.
He spoke of how proud he was to see the youngster flourish.
“He’s really matured as a person and a cricketer,” Mudaliar said. “I think he’s come back to City with a great attitude. It’s really positive for him, the club and cricket in general. It’s good to see.”
In five first-grade matches this season, Fitzgerald as amassed 201 runs at an average of 67.
He has a highest score of 122 against Old Boys on November 4.
“It’s good to see him come back [from England] and kick on really well at the start of this year,” Mudaliar said. “I’m really proud of him, in a weird way.”
City United have two first-innings wins and two first-innings losses this season and sit fifth on the ladder, seven points behind leaders Old Boys.
They are coming off a last-round rain-affected draw against South Tamworth.
At Riverside 1 on Saturday, last-placed Bective East play Souths.