THE DRAMA surrounding the Bonnor Cup qualifiers is over, with the competition set to include all nine teams for the 2022-23 season.
Competition organiser had originally confirmed that six teams - St Pat's Old Boys, Rugby Union, Orange City, CYMS, Cavaliers and Centrals - had already booked a spot in the group stage.
It meant Bathurst City, City Colts and ORC were to play-off in a three-team qualifying series for the last two spots.
Those play-off matches had been scheduled to take place over the course of the last three weeks but due to wet weather, they had to be postponed.
Redbacks skipper Mark Day said he received correspondence from Bonnor Cup organisers that the Twenty20 competition had ultimately abandon the qualifiers and that all nine teams would now compete.
"They're not going with the qualification anymore, they're just going to play a nine-team competition this season," he said.
"That means everyone is in: the six that were guaranteed and the three that were going to qualify."
Orange District Cricket Association president Mark Frecklington had previously slated November 4 as a possible date to catch-up on the play-off matches.
Organisers had originally planned two groups of eight teams, however, this format is longer an option, with Day saying he's still waiting on further information on how it'll be structured.
He's pleased that Redbacks can at least play in the main competition now.
"It's very good to be in it now," he said.
"We were hoping to be in it, whether it was through the qualifiers or not. At least we're there now.
"A few people can't understand why they couldn't do this from the start, but that's what it is. At least now we can play some cricket, if this rain could stay away.
"I thought the format was a bit different. I spoke to Hendo [City Colts' David Henderson] and a few other guys about it and they were all confused. Oh well, it is what it is."
Day said he's just looking forward to playing some cricket, after having a vast majority of his season interrupted from the wet weather.
"We've played two and a half games in BOIDC," he said.
"We actually had a really good pre-season before all this rain showed up. We were actually feeling really good coming into the season but we've really struggled to get any training in. We've maybe had two training runs in the past month.
"It's been real stop start but everyone has been in the same boat. It's just going to be one of those years."
City Colts' Bonnor Cup skipper David Henderson had been critical of the qualification format, describing it as "frustrating" and "not fair".
"You've got to put money up front to enter this comp and then you've got to bloody qualify for it, it's not fair," he said last week.
"It is frustrating, I think it's being dictated by Orange a bit. We finished well above the bottom last season and I'm sure ORC and Redbacks are feeling a bit the same, it's just really frustrating, I don't have words for it."
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