The draw for the Bathurst and Orange District Cricket competition has been released and there's two blockbuster games to open the season.
Highlighting round one will be one-day games between Orange City and Cavaliers at Riawena, as well as defending champions St Pat's taking on Rugby Union at Morse Park 1.
BOIDC chairman Mark Frecklington said there was no playing around with the draw to ensure a bumper opening to the competition on October 8.
"That's just how it fell. When it did fall that way, I wasn't overly disappointed though," he said.
"The clubs may not want a big matchup first up, but I think it's good to start the season with something big like that if you can."
The other opening games will see CYMS host Centennials Bulls at Wade Park, Bathurst City take on Centrals at George Park 1 and City Colts will play ORC at Loco Oval.
One notable change to the 2022/23 season will that of a four-team finals set-up, after it was changed to allow five teams to contest post-season cricket in 2021/21.
"Last year it was a bit split and a close vote to bring in the five teams and there was a lot of discussion about it," Frecklington said.
"It's simply not practical to try and play five teams. You need four or six really. I think everyone was generally happy to go back to four teams.
"The five team finals format wasn't perfect and it's nice to try things. I won't say it was an experiment that went wrong, but I think it's proved that it wasn't the right idea."
The first week of finals will take place on the weekend of March 18 and 19, with a 1v2 and 3v4 matchup. The grand final will then be played on the weekend of April 1 and 2.
The other change will be the return of the two-day format, which was scrapped last season to alleviate the burden brought onto clubs by COVID.
"Everyone has been looking forward to the return of two-day cricket. It's good for the clubs," Frecklington said.
"The clubs generally want to play two-day cricket and they generally prefer that mixture of both. That will really help sort out the better teams as well. One-day cricket brings things a little bit closer together, but the better teams will stand out in that longer format."
There will be one general bye for the year, coming on the weekend of November 12 when Western Zone Premier League cricket takes centre stage.
For the Orange clubs, the prospect of playing as many games at Wade Park is always one to keep an eye on.
This season, all four of Cavaliers, Orange City, Centrals and CYMS will play four games at Wade Park.
"I just try and mix it around so everyone gets around the same at Wade Park during the season," Frecklington said.
"There's no set method to do it, just try and mix it up as much as possible so everyone gets their fair share of home matches at Wade Park."
The regular season will end with City Colts against Cavs (Loco Oval), Bathurst City against CYMS (Morse Park 1), Orange City against Centennials Bulls (Riawena Oval), Centrals v Rugby Union (Wade Park) and St Pat's against ORC at George Park 1.
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