THERE will be no waiting around for the Western Zone Premier League's blockbuster contest to show up in the 2021-22 season.
Bathurst will get their WZPL campaign underway on November 28 with a big game away to long-time rivals Dubbo, the first game in a five-round competition whose schedule was released early this week.
The two cities have been the benchmark for cricket in the region over the past half decade and that's expected to continue into another year.
Bathurst are back-to-back defending champions in the competition, beating Dubbo on both occasions, while the two districts played out a remarkable tie in the 2017-18 decider.
No regular season clash between Bathurst and Dubbo took place last year since the second round of the competition was washed out.
The pressure will be on Bathurst to keep delivering the goods against Dubbo, having won the last three contests in their head-to-head.
One of Bathurst's long time representative players Jameel Qureshi said the contests with Dubbo have been fantastic, and always bring out the best in both teams.
"We've been notoriously bad at getting off to a good start so we'll be trying to change that," he said.
"I think Dubbo has always been the benchmark of Western Zone Cricket for a fairly long time, probably as long as I remember. I remember when Dubbo and Parkes were sides to beat.
"It was probably about seven years about where we finally jumped over that, when we beat both of them away, and that's when that rivalry with Dubbo really started.
"We've had some really good games inside the last decade. They're a quality side who always produce
Bathurst will have the longest wait of any side before the get to play a home game.
They will have back-to-back games away to Dubbo and Orange (December 19) and then will host Parkes after the Christmas break on January 23.
Bathurst then rounds out the regular season with a game at home to Cowra on February, and then the will hope that's followed by a March 6 grand final return.
Qureshi said it's tough to have a couple of away trips to start the competition but great venues make those trips easier.
"It is what it is," he said.
"But playing at Wade Park - what a place to play. I never really consider that an away game. Everyone will always take the chance to play there.
"For me, it's the number one ground in country New South Wales. You'd play there any time possible."
The other game in the opening round will see Parkes hosting Orange while Cowra has the bye.
Both of Bathurst's home games at the start of the new year will be taking place at Morse Park 1.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: