MACQUARIE Hotel face an uphill battle to replicate their success from the opening season of the Mid North Coast Premier Cricket League.
Last season’s grand finalists will field a new-look side this season with Ethan Hyde, Josh Hyde, Liam Coelho and Fraser Carroll all missing from their first round side.
Only Carroll is expected to return in coming weeks with Scott Witchard to take over the captaincy duties from Josh Hyde until at least Christmas.
He knows the loss of the former skipper will leave a significant hole in both their batting and bowling lineups.
“It’s up to the rest of us to step up because you’re not just going to replace someone like Josh with one other player,” Witchard said.
The absence of Macquarie’s better-known players will provide an opportunity for Sam Dwyer.
“He will bowl a lot more overs,” Witchard said.
“We’ve also picked up Tim Spurgin from Kempsey who is a middle order bat that should slot in around four for us.”
Witchard admitted they had to lower their expectations of what they wanted to achieve this season.
“It’d be crazy of us to think we were going to win the majority of our games like we did last year,” he said.
“We’ll still be going out there and giving it our best shot.”
The Macquarie captain expected Nulla to be the big improvers.
“They’ve picked up six or seven players including a couple of good batsmen and only missed the semis last year,” he said.
“They should be a top three or four side.”