City are hoping to be the team to bring Hillgrove’s unbeaten run to an end when they clash at Bellevue Oval on Saturday.
With washouts, representative carnivals and the bye, City haven’t played cricket for a month and are raring to go in the lead up to this game.
They won their first two matches against Servies and Guyra but City captain Kyle Taylor said his team are looking forward to testing themselves against the reigning premiers.
“[Hillgrove] are one of the form teams in the comp at the moment and all of the City boys have got heaps of respect for them,” he said.
“At training the other day all the City boys were full of confidence, they want to test themselves against the best team in the comp, well, we think at the moment.”
Hillgrove have some of the competition’s best batsman and Taylor said his bowlers will have to step up to the mark.
“Their batting is going to get them through the game I think. They can bat deep, that's going to be a problem for us,” he said.
“If we snag a couple of wickets it is just going to be keeping the boys' confidence high and not getting ahead of themselves.
“Their top three are the marquee players in Armidale. Bails [Matt Baillie] used to be Armidale's first XI captain, Schaefer can bat, Kingy [Brad King] who can bat but then when you also have the lesser known players that come in and helps your team with a big score, that's always a positive.”
Hillgrove will lose Will Archer and Jack Carey for the round five encounter but captain Matt Schaefer said the changes won’t worry his squad who have past players Tom Armitage and Adam O’Sullivan back in town.
“We will miss [Archer’s] steady head with the bat and we will miss his bowling as well, he bowled 11 straight on the weekend and was unreal. That'll be a big gap but we have Bentley Cropper coming back in. I expect he’ll be able to do the same thing with the ball, tie up an end and bowl his offspinners as well,” he said.
“We will have a couple of guys coming back into the team as well that haven't played in a few years so it will be good to have a game with them.”
He said while City have dominated their early matches, Hillgrove are ready to take them down a notch.
“They're on top of the table with us so that will be a good challenge,” he said.
“I think we will give them a bit more of a test this weekend.
“They have got a couple of good cricketers in Karl Triebe and Kyle Taylor as well.”