Tucabia Copmanhurst GI Hotel players swarm Bob McKenzie (centre) after he ran out Jamie Firth in the GDSC Premier LEague preliminary final.
Tucabia Copmanhurst GI Hotel players swarm Bob McKenzie (centre) after he ran out Jamie Firth in the GDSC Premier LEague preliminary final. Matthew Elkerton

CRICKET: Clubs struggle to fill sides for opening round

CRICKET: With the first round of Clarence River Cricket Association action this weekend, clubs across the region have begun the annual tradition of scratching and clawing to the depths of their rosters.

Traditionally, the first weekend of the season is the hardest for player numbers and that has not changed this year.

It is understood all clubs are struggling heading in to the first round, but none more than Tucabia-Copmanhurst who will field three teams in the 2018/19 season.

"We are doing it tough for numbers, ultimately three teams will be pushing it each week but as a club the boys were happy to accept that,” president Derek Woods said.

"We are like everyone else, we are scratching and sniffing underneath rocks, and going to the depths of our club roster to find players for this weekend.

"The start of the season is always the same, it doesn't matter what time of year it is.”

It is understood Coutts Crossing are also struggling to fill their two grade sides with more than 14 players unavailable for the opening round.

But Woods said there is a silver lining to the problem, with the lack of players usually allowing a player of the future the chance to stand up and earn a spot for the season.

"We will have a naturally young third grade side as it is this season, but this weekend gives even more chance for our junior players to step up to the senior level and show what they have got,” he said.

Tucabia's leading Premier League side, which made the grand final against Harwood last season, has also undergone a minor facelift this year.

It is udnerstood strike seamer Chris Adamson has stepped back into a more part-time role, making way for the inclusion of former Westlawn firebrand Rohan Hackett.

Hackett will complete a rare three-man left-arm seam attack alongside captain Brad Chard and a rejuvenated Brayden Pardoe.

The opening round of CRCA first grade will see Tucabia GI Hotel face Coutts Crossing at Ulmarra Showground, Tucabia Phil Lloyd Earthmoving meet Brothers at Ellem Oval and Westlawn host South Services at Lower Fisher Park.