Magpies captain Jed Dickson doesn't feel Charlestown are regarded as a specialist shorter-format team but a tough draw in this year's T20 Summer Bash will certainly test the defending champions.
Dickson and his squad, a mix of current first graders, imports from elsewhere and former player cameos, kick start with the Rosellas (Wests) at Kahibah Oval on Thursday followed by the Waratahs (Waratah-Mayfield) on Sunday, Tigers (Wallsend) on Tuesday and last season's finalists the Pumas (Hamilton-Wickham) on February 2.
"I don't think many people see Charlestown as a real T20 specialist team," he said. "We've been able to make finals [top four] the last few years and we've got a bit of quality again. It's a pretty tough draw for us so hopefully we can keep it going."
The Magpies continue a Gordon connection via Nathan Doyle and Jamie Bekis, pick up Greta-Branxton's Nathan Holz while Josh Claridge (Sydney) and Bayley McGill (not playing) return.
Thursday's second fixture will be held at Learmonth Park and has the Flood looking to rebound against the Whips (Belmont), who have recruited Will Buttleman and welcome back Ray Cooper. The new Maitland outfit went down to the Sea Dragons at Uni Oval on Tuesday with the hosts chasing down the 88 required five down in the 16th over.
Also on Tuesday, the Lions skipper Simon Moore top scored with 59 in a total of 7-163 at Townson Oval before Merewether dismissed the Waratahs for 78 in reply.
While you're with us, did you know the Newcastle Herald offers breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more? Keep up to date with all the local news - sign up here
IN NEWS TODAY