Last weekend's heatwave conditions delayed proceedings, but Maitland and Cessnock are both primed for victory in Sunday's John Bull Shield final.
Cessnock, hosts the final at Miller Park, Branxton, and is eager to cap off their record-breaking season with victory in the annual representative competition.
The Cessnock rep team is undefeated locally this season and has a record of seven wins. Their only loss came in the semi-final of the NSW McDonalds Country Plate.
Maitland is also chasing the AGL Seconds Eleven final, hosting Singleton at Lorn Park and the under-16, under-14 and under-12 Hunter Valley Junior Cricket Council representative titles.
Maitland East meets Maitland West in the under 16s and under 12s and Maitland West takes on Cessnock in the under 14s.
Maitland senior team skipper Matt Trappel said Maitland last won the John Bull Shield in 2013-14 when they defeated Singleton and a number of players had been part of the team since and not tasted success at the rep level.
Singleton defeated Maitland last year and Cessnock won the title in 2014-15.
“There’s no shortage of enthusiasm among the boys. It’s been a while since we won the shield and the boys want to turn that around,” he said.
It’s been a while since we won the shield and the boys want to turn that around.Maitland captain Matt Trappel
“Cessnock are in top form though and they knocked us off at Robins Oval in the rounds.
“They’ve had a great year are playing very well together as a team.
“I think the key for us will be the top four scoring runs and establishing partnerships. We need at least one or preferably two of the top four to stick around to help us bat out our innings.”
The week’s delay has enabled Kurri Weston’s Michael Heinrich to rejoin the team. However, Western Suburbs’ batsman Aaron Mahony and Northern Suburbs skipper Michael Wilson are unavailable and will be replaced by Kurri’s Jack Bennett and Norths’ Josh Callinan.
Cessnock skipper Brent Watson said his team was full of confidence after their best season to date, which included making semi-finals of the NSW McDonalds Country Plate.
Maitland: Matt Trappel, Lincoln Mills, Daniel Willis, Jack Bennett, Josh Callinan, Michael Heinrich, Josh Moxey, Jarred Moxey, Luke Knight, Mitch Field, Mitch Fisher, Cameron Bates.
Cessnock: Jason Varoxis, Drew Olsen, Joshua Dagg, Barry Richards, Jason Orr, Greg Andrews, Cameron Ross, Steven Abel, Brent Watson, Robbie Sidebottom, Matt Tomlinson, Matthew Hopley.
Maitland Colts: K Bowd, B Chandler, B Crouch, J Gabriel, J Krake, H King, L Everleigh, G Garland, T Burton, J Adams, E Thompson, R Harrison.