THE new season of cricket has also brought with it a new competition.
Western Zone Cricket will be running an under 18s colts competition in November which will bring together three district sides and a Chairman’s XI team to play each other in Orange.
The move was welcomed by the Bathurst District Cricket Association who were happy to see players in the age group receive more representative opportunities.
The weekend’s semi-finals and finals will also act as a selection opportunity for the Western Zone under 18s representative team.
BDCA president Campbell Graham said it will be beneficial for talented players in the age group to experience a broader range of representative cricket.
“We’ve never had a selection process for the colts side. The colts side was mainly picked out of the players who were in opens,” he said.
“We decided to bring in a competition to be able to expand the Mitchell colts, who haven’t had much of a competition with just Bathurst, Orange and to a lesser extent Mudgee.
“To include Dubbo and Lachlan into that is a big step forward for Western Zone.”
Mitchell Cricket Council has operated an under 19s competition for the past three seasons, but with Blue Mountains dropping out of the 2017-18 edition it left Bathurst players with less game time.
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“It gives other guys an opportunity to prove themselves in this age group because there’s a lot of talent that gets missed,” Graham said.
“It also means that when these players finish their under 16s representative games it gives them something to strive for.”
Bathurst will face Dubbo on November 24 at Sir Jack Brabham Park. On the following day they will play either Orange or the Chairman’s XI squad.
The under 16s will also see their return to a Western Zone Premier League format after going unused for the past four seasons.
Bathurst, Dubbo, Lachlan and Orange will play one match against each other with contests spread throughout the 2018-19 season.
The first of the matches takes place on October 28.
The Western Zone Plate makes a return this season but Bathurst will not be fielding a side.
In Mitchell Cricket Council-related news the only change to this season’s calendar will be the addition of the under 16s Challenge Shield.
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The competition will be a three-way contest between Orange, Bathurst and Mitchell East.
Orange plays host to Bathurst in the first of those matches this Sunday from 10am at Country Club Oval.
Mitchell’s regular under 12s, 14s and 16s competitions will not start until October 28.