PORT Pirates had a baptism of fire in the new Mid North Coast Premier Cricket League.
The young Pirates were no match for Taree United last Saturday, but captain Ben Woodward isn’t pressing the panic button after one below-par performance.
Jared Humphreys’ (27) effort with the bat was the one shining light as Pirates were rolled for 65 in reply to 7-259.
Woodward wants more from his more experienced players in Saturday’s clash with Port City.
“Some of our younger players performed really well last week – Jared Humphreys top scored and took his first wicket in his debut,” the captain said.
“Connor Cook bowled really well and there were some positive signs we can use moving forward.
“It certainly wasn’t the juniors fault on the weekend, it was more the senior players who I want to step up this weekend.”
The Pirates captain admitted his side would be better for the run and now know what the standard of the new competition will be like.
It certainly wasn’t the juniors fault on the weekend, it was more the senior players who I want to step up this weekend.Port Pirates captain Ben Woodward
He acknowledged Pirates’ season would be focused on developing younger players although they were still aiming to win their share of games.
“We’ll still try to win all our games, but it’s obviously a development year for the club,” Woodward said.
“There’s the potential there without putting the pressure on anyone too much that in a few years we could have a dominant side similar to the one we had a couple of years ago.”
After the top six batsmen scored a combined total of 10 runs, the captain wants more patience at the top of the order.
“Our start with the bat is the main thing; we need to make sure we get through to about the 10th over or so because the ball stopped swinging last week after about the eighth over,” he said.
“It is about adapting for us because it was a new experience to play on what I would say were truer conditions than we’re used to.”
Port City captain Gordon Scott isn’t reading too much into Pirates first-up performance.
“You can’t take too much out of last week,” he said.
“We won’t see who the front-runners are until about round six, but we’d definitely like to be there at the pointy end of the season.”
We won’t see who the front-runners are until about round six, but we’d definitely like to be there at the pointy end of the season.Port City captain Gordon Scott
Scott admitted his side needed to be a more consistent team this season and the challenge now was to repeat last week’s overall performance.
“That’s the challenge for us because that’s what makes a player,” he said.
“Each player can have an outstanding result once every three or four weeks, but when you can put back-to-back efforts in it makes a big difference.”
Clint Cocking and Kyle Blanch are expected to miss the clash, with Jason Dodds to come in at the top of the order.
Scott was unsure who would replace Blanch.
First ball is scheduled for 1pm at Oxley Oval.