THE chance stake a premiership claim would be the goal of all the Shoalhaven District Cricket Association's first-grade teams on Saturday.
A series of two-day matches commence on Saturday and all teams will be looking to start the New Year with strong efforts.
However, North Nowra Cambewarra and Nowra, in particular, have the chance to put forward their premiership credentials.
Norths host Berry Shoalhaven Heads at Bernie Regan Oval and the Nowra lads travels over to Hayden Drexel Oval to take on Shoalhaven Ex-Servicemens.
The reason why Norths and Nowra have the chance to make a statement is because their opponents both won recent limited over competitions.
Ex-Servos won the one-day final a few weeks ago and last Sunday Berry won the Twenty20 final.
So beating Ex-Servos or Berry would definitely be victories of note.
Ulladulla United and Bomaderry will clash in the other first-grade match at Lighthouse Oval.
You can expect a great game at Bernie Regan Oval, given that Norths and Berry have heaps of talented players in their ranks.
If Norths get to bowl first then captain Justin Weller will be a key player.
Weller is a proven wicket-taker and would love to pick a huge haul of Berry scalps.
Damian Spelta and Hugh Gillen will also more than handy with the ball for Norths.
Getting Sam Lowcock, Nick McDonald and Nick McDonald out early would be the aim of the Berry attack, if they get to a bowl.
Berry, speaking of bowling, have a bowler in great form at the moment.
Tom Gibbs would still be on a high after leading Berry to victory in the Twenty20 final with a four-wicket haul.
Tom Dougall and Aaron McElhinney will also have a job to do with the ball for Berry.
Glenn Brandon, Andrew Wright and Nathan Thomas are three of the key Berry batsmen who will be out to make runs.
The loss on Sunday might have jolted Ex-Servos out of its comfort zone which could be bad news for Nowra tomorrow at HDO.
Ex-Servos is a well-balanced team and is a consistent performer with both bat and ball.
The Ex-Men if Daniel Gleason and Blake Munilla make runs and Nate Jones and Trevor Thomason take wickets will be hard to beat.
However, Ex-Servos will be in all sorts of trouble if Nowra clicks into gear.
If Damien Etherington, Lewis O'Brien and Ryan Henry hit form with the bat then Nowra should be able to put on a decent total.
Nowra’s Justin Rumble, if he gets going with the ball, could cause the Ex-Men batsmen all sorts of trouble.
Brad Ison and Jason Bell will also have roles to play with the ball for Nowra.
Meanwhile, Ulladulla United, in the other first-grade match, will play the dangerous Bomaderry Tigers at Lighthouse Oval.
The Tigers have not produced their best this season but it would be a mistake to disregard them as a threat.
Any team that has a match winner like Michael Coulter in its ranks will always be hard to beat.
Coulter, with both bat and ball, will be looking to put the Tigers in control of the match and he is a definite danger.
Add in Josh Coulter, Kyle Jarrett, Matthew Hiriart and Sumit Raina and it’s easy to see why Bomaderry will be hard to beat.
United also has plenty of players capable of producing match-winning efforts.
Wes Holmes and Aaron Wester have been making runs this season for United, while Angus Rutherford and Peter King can produce wicket-taking spells.
Throw in promising youngster Rocky Lavalle and you can see why United should be confident about its chances.