BATHURST District Cricket Association’s first grade clubs will be eyeing off the boundary more than ever when the season gets underway this Saturday.
The introduction of a Twenty20 series to this year’s BDCA first grade competition will test the big-hitting capabilities of the city’s clubs.
With the short format on the rise throughout Western Zone the BDCA board made the decision to incorporate T20 cricket, which will start at the end of the one-day portion of matches in November.
“For a couple of years we wanted to get Monday night T20 up and running for first grade but that didn’t work out, so we’ve worked it into the first grade Saturday competition,” BDCA president Campbell Graham said.
“We found ourselves a little short in T20 last year with the Bathurst team so we want to improve that. All our highest grade competitions are played as either one-day games or Twenty20 now.”
On November 18 and 25 teams will play Twenty20 double headers. The first match will take place at 12.30pm with another to follow at 4pm.
The last T20 game will be played on December 2 and the two-day competition will begin on the following Saturday.
Pink balls will be used for the T20 matches.
That will allow teams to choose between wearing whites or a coloured uniform.
However, there’s five weeks of one-day cricket to navigate before the new format arrives on the scene.
Defending champions Bathurst City will start their season this Saturday with a match against ORC at the Sportsground.
City Colts will host Centennials Bulls at Loco Oval and Rugby Union face St Pat’s Old Boys at Brooke Moore Oval.
Graham is confident the competition will be another closely fought contest.
In 2016-17 ORC finished last despite three wins, and grand finalists Bathurst City and Rugby Union had six losses combined throughout the regular season.
Pat’s – who were the other side to miss finals – enjoyed two victories over eventual preliminary finalists Colts.
“All our first grade teams are looking very strong and it’s too hard to pick a winner. I know a few changes have been made in some clubs but nothing major,” Graham said.
“Pat’s were looking very strong towards the end of last year. They drew a few games at the end of the season where they were able to grind out teams.
“For ORC their strength is in their batting and they’ve also got a great young team with the likes of Brad Glasson, Jeremy Judge and Wayne Sellers.
“To try and pick a top four is too hard and that’s a really good position for the BDCA to be in.”
In second grade St Pat’s will once again field two teams, bringing the total to seven.
President’s Cup will be a seven team competition, with Blayney once again participating, while the new look third grade boasts nine teams.
Last season’s third and fourth grades have been rolled into a single competition.
Bathurst Bushrangers are strongly represented with three clubs and Railway Hotel will also be involved.
“We’ve only lost one team across all grades. That’s really great to see,” Graham said.