TOUGH LOSS: Harwood's wicketkeeper Hayden McMahon appeals, with the side looking for the first wicket, in the NCCC Premier League loss to Sawtell at Harwood Oval last weekend.
TOUGH LOSS: Harwood's wicketkeeper Hayden McMahon appeals, with the side looking for the first wicket, in the NCCC Premier League loss to Sawtell at Harwood Oval last weekend. Adam Hourigan

Harwood bolstered by returning stars ahead of Woopi test

NCCC PREMIER LEAGUE: It's not often you see Harwood Cricket Club outside of the top two in the North Coast Cricket Council Premier League.

But that's the predicament they find themselves in after going winless in the opening two rounds of the competition.

Club captain Ben McMahon will be eager to return to the side after a stint with North Coast at the McDonald's Country Championships last weekend.

"I'm keen to get stuck in and everyone's keen to kickstart the season with a first win,” McMahon said.

Harwood travel south to take on Woolgoolga-based Northern Districts Rebels and McMahon is expecting a stern test.

"I think they'll be a real challenge even though we haven't played them yet. They should provide a tough match on their home deck,” he said.

McMahon is looking to working with a bolstered squad after a number of interruptions from representative cricket call-ups in the opening rounds.

"We trained really well this week and it was the first time we had a full squad back in training. We had a good bat and a bowl. It'll be nice to have everyone back,” he said.

Harwood fell to Sawtell by three wickets last weekend and while both sides were understrength, McMahon said there were kinks that needed ironing out.

"It was a close game but they said there were a couple of little things they should have done differently,” he said.

"It's tough sometimes but it's a game of the gut, you just have to go with it and hope for the best.”

Despite a slow start to the campaign, McMahon said they were still aiming for nothing less than to be at the top of the competition.

"We're in it to win it again this year, so we'll keep fighting for first place,” he said.

"It's important to go through winning as many points as possible because first place at the end of the season goes straight through to the grand final and that's where we need to be.”

GAME DAY: Harwood travel to Woolgoolga to face Northern District Rebels while Sawtell host the undefeated Valleys Cricket from 1pm today.