Taree United and Taree West have withdrawn from this season's Mid North Coast Premier League cricket competition.
Five clubs, Wingham, Wauchope, Port Pirates, Port City and Kempsey Rovers are the five nominations, while it's understood Macquarie and Kempsey club Rovers could also be starters.
The premier league started three seasons ago and takes in clubs from the Manning, Hastings and Macleay associations. United won the premiership in 2018/19 with Wingham declared premiers last summer after the competition was cut short due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Wingham had already clinched the minor premiership. Last season seven clubs contested the competition.
United captain Ricky Campbell said the club just doesn't have enough players of the required standard.
"A few of the older blokes have said they don't want to play premier league because of the travel involved while there's still uncertainty about covid,'' he explained.
United fielded the premier league club last summer and third grade in the Manning competition. The third grade won the premiership.
Campbell, an allrounder, isn't sure where he'll be playing next season.
"I've heard they may look to get a local A-grade comp going again, but I'm not sure what's going to happen,'' he said.
Campbell described the premier league as a 'good concept.'
"It's worked pretty well. But it's just hard at the moment to get players to commit.''
Taree West captain Dean Mills echoed Campbell's sentiments.
"We just don't have enough players,'' he said.
"We're losing all the young blokes who have to go away for work or uni. When I first came into A-grade you had to fight for a spot. Now we struggle to get 12 players each week for a game.''
Mills indicated he won't be playing next season.
"I'll be having it off,'' he said.
The premier league is due to start on Saturday October 10.