First versus fourth; second versus third.
The Maitland District Cricket Association’s first grade heavyweights square off on Saturday in what could be an intriguing pointer to this season’s finals.
City United, who sit on top of the ladder with 18 points, will face their biggest test to date when they take on Norths (13 points ) at Lorn Park in the two-day fixture.
And down at Raymond Terrace, the home team and reigning premiers will take on Kurri who have been extremely impressive to date. Both are on 14 points.
But that’s not all. Now that the Port Stephens Pythons have recorded their first win in the top flight - a one-day win over Wests last weekend – can they make it two on the trot against the struggling Thornton?
And to cap it off, it’s Easts v Wests at Coronation … two sides that have struggled from a lack of runs in games this season.
City captain Matt Trappel says his side will have to step up a notch against Norths, who will be bolstered by the return of star all-rounder Lincoln Mills.
But he freely acknowledges that he is delighted with his side’s early season form – which would no doubt include his own form, with scores of 60 and a century last weekend to his name already this season.
“It has been a good start, not just for me but the whole team,” Trappel said.
“At various points we’ve all contributed – with bat and ball, and our fielding has been good too. But this will be our biggest test so far, no doubt.
“The good thing is if we can get a win, it will put a good break between us and Norths.”
Norths were severely undermanned in last weekend’s loss to Raymond Terrace, but take on a much stronger look this week with the return of all-rounders Lincoln Mills and Kael Smith, as well as batsman Mitch Nolan who scored 50 in his last outing.
“We know City will go in as favourites … they’re posting good scores and their bowlers are taking wickets,” Norths skipper Mike Wilson said. “Our games against them are usually hard fought, and I think this will be no different.
“Josh Trappel is back for them too, so we’ll have to play well.”
Kurri and Raymond Terrace should be equally intriguing and the clash against the premiers, fresh from a win over Norths, will give a good indication of just how well Kurri are travelling after wins over Wests and Thornton.
Certainly their form looks good and Wests captain Tom Irwin pegged them as a top two team after they had played at Coronation in round 2.
In other matches Thornton are at home to Port Stephens, while both Wests and Easts will be looking for their first win of the season at Coronation.