IN A season which has thus far offered little opportunity, Gladstone representative players will look to make the most of their chances in today's Gladstone Cricket A grade encounters.
Rain and competition byes have reduced the amount of play possible over the early rounds and Gladstone open captain Troy Webster is hopeful his charges will spend valuable time in the middle today and next Saturday ahead of their November 13 Central Queensland Cricket Championships clash with Callide Valley.
Webster said Gladstone's open side had been weakened by the loss of young representative stars Nathan Rabnott and Liam Kirk to the North Queensland under-19 side which will take on South Queensland on the same weekend.
He was confident Gladstone has the players to do the job, particularly if they can find some form in the lead-up. He said Brothers speedster Mick Kiriazis was a trump card for the side after starring in last year's series.
"(Calliope paceman) Scott Tippet has played the CQ games and he's got a two-dayer against us (Yaralla) so hopefully he'll get a decent bowl,'' Webster said.
'(Yaralla) hasn't played for four weeks so it will be a big test for us, especially Johnno (Rob Johnson) who will open up (in the rep game) and hasn't played rep cricket for a while.'
Webster said it was vital Gladstone got off to a winning start against Callide Valley, thereby avoiding their remaining encounters against Central Highlands (in Emerald) and Rockhampton (Gladstone) becoming virtual sudden-death matches.
Calliope hosts Yaralla at Bunting Park in their two-day clash beginning today while Boyne/Tannum and Brothers meet in a 35-over fixture at BITS Oval. Both games start at 12.30pm.