Newcastle representative wicketkeeper Luke Stewart will lead a re-shuffled University team for the first time this weekend with regular captain Matt Gawthrop unavailable for the Newcastle District Cricket Association semi-final against minor premiers Belmont at No.1 Sportsground.
Gawthrop (wedding) joins injured pair Liam McKechnie (hand surgery) and Cameron Dack (knee) on the sidelines. Kiran Venu and Brad Smith are changes from the student’s last start a fortnight ago.
Second grade skipper Andrew Casey comes up along with Corey Hudson, who will make his first grade debut for the Sea Dragons, while Jackson Thompson returns.
The side’s leading run scorer James Rushford and top wicket taker Michael Radnidge will be key as well as left-arm paceman and former skipper Luke Bird, who is travelling back from Coffs Harbour for the do-or-die fixture.
Belmont, who lost Sunday’s Twenty20 final, are set to be full strength.