Old Students are hopeful a switch to two-day matches will be the catalyst that sparks a change in their fortunes this season.
But the odds have been further stacked against them as they prepare for Numurkah at Murchison Recreation Reserve.
Students captain Luke McPhillamy is a huge out for the side, with the ace wicket-taker to miss until after Christmas as he gets work done on his knee.
Numurkah will also bring out the star names for the entry into the longer format of the game.
Tim Arnel returns for his first match since round one, as import Michael Eckard looks to assert his mark on the Haisman Shield for a second season.
Blues captain Liam Gledhill is excited by what the South African all-rounder can bring to the team.
‘‘He gives us another option with the ball and he’ll bat in the top six and strengthen the top six, so we won’t put a huge amount of pressure on those two (Eckard and Arnel) for a few more weeks, but it gives us that flexibility,’’ he said.
Gledhill will make his way to play at Murchison for the first time, with no expectations about what to expect from the pitch.
Despite Old Students’ lack of wins this season, their ability to continue to post solid totals has Gledhill not taking the game lightly.
‘‘Guys like Felix Odell have had a good start to the season, so we’ll be focusing on him as well as Gino (Saracino) and Nick Breslin, they’ve got a line-up that can take the game away from you, so we have to be switched on from the start,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s a big game for us, if we can win we can consolidate our spot in the top three.’’
McPhillamy will give advice from the sidelines, but is looking forward to his side having an opportunity to settle into the innings.
‘‘I suppose we’re looking forward to two-day cricket, our one-day form hasn’t been the best, so hopefully the longer format suits us, it’ll give the guys a bit more time to bat,’’ he said.
‘‘Some of the younger guys down the middle to lower order come in with limited overs left, so it’s definitely a completely different format and we’re looking forward to it.’’
Premiership player Riley Michel will be looking to counteract Numurkah’s big guns, coming in for his first A-grade game this season.