NEWCASTLE City plan to re-sign their professional captain-coach, Mitchell Claydon, for next season, despite the side's poor performances in Newcastle district cricket.
City are staring down a third outright defeat on Saturday when they resume at 8-26 in response to Wallsend's 126 at Learmonth Park in the penultimate round of the season.
It will also be the final game of the season for Claydon and his Kent teammates, Ben Harmison and Matthew Hunn, as they are due to return to the UK on Sunday to begin the pre-season for their English county sides.
City appear certain to finish 11th, a steep drop from last season when they placed fifth after spending most of the campaign in the top four.
Claydon can hardly be blamed for City's woes.
With 507 runs at an average of 26.68, the all-rounder has more than twice the runs of the club's next best performer, Jordi Van Kemenade (216).
He almost single-handedly delivered the club an outright win over Wests two weeks ago when he belted 70 off 52 balls in the second innings.
Hunn has also expressed interest in returning and has performed well with 20 wickets at 12.30 in eight matches.
But it has been a dreadful stay in Australia for Harmison, the younger brother of retired Test fast bowler Steve Harmison. The Kent batsman has just 59 runs at 8.43.
City president Colin Tegg said the entire squad had been underwhelming.
"It's been a very under-performing season, and the talent those guys possess has not been on display this season," Tegg said.
"It's hard to understand why, but it seems they can't bat properly. I guess the results speak for themselves."
Given they are first-class cricketers, expectations are highest on Claydon, Hunn and Harmison.
City's fourth Kent recruit, Chris Hartley, returned home early due to a back injury.
"If anything, Mitch and Matt have been the best performers," Tegg said. "Ben [Harmison] hasn't had a good time here. That's obvious."
"On the face of it I can understand it looks like a failure, but at the heart of it it'll work well. It's just a matter of it all coming together."
Meanwhile, Charlestown captain Dane Macourt is refusing to raise the white flag on his team's semi-final hopes.
Charlestown resume at 3-100 in reply to Toronto Workers' 160 at Ron Hill Oval on Saturday and require an outright win to move to within two points of fourth-placed Stockton-Raymond Terrace going into the final round.
Charlestown would then need to beat Hamwicks in their 50-over match and have Stockton lose to Wests.
"Wests can be a dangerous side on their day, so all is not over, depending on how we go tomorrow," Macourt said.
Macourt said earning first-innings points over Toronto was the primary objective, before the club made an aggressive push for an outright.
"We've got to worry about getting 60 runs first and try and lay a solid base and then push the run rate and game along for the full day," he said.