Orange cricket changes to a more structured grading system

HOW'S THAT: There's changes on the horizon for the 2014-15 season. Pictured is Orange City quick Ed Morrish as he celebrates the wicket of Greg Cole. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

HOW'S THAT: There's changes on the horizon for the 2014-15 season. Pictured is Orange City quick Ed Morrish as he celebrates the wicket of Greg Cole. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

THE Orange District Cricket Association (ODCA) will look to mirror the “structured grade” systems used in other larger regional centres to better set up the long term future of the game in Orange.

At present the ODCA will accept most nominations from any team for any grade, and it has resulted in a six-team first grade competition followed by a 10-team second grade premiership.

But that set up is soon too change.

Under the proposed structure change for the 2014-15 season, the sides that contest the top grade will also have sides play in the second grade competition, resulting in the ODCA’s two top grades mirrored throughout the course of the summer.

Teams left over play in third grade or, where eligible, in the Centenary Cup.

“I think that’s something most clubs view as the ideal way to structure the competition,” ODCA president Mark Frecklington said.

“A structured grade system is definitely a positive move forward.

“I think the long term needs it.”

Frecklington highlighted the positive influence of structured grade systems in large cricket centres like Bathurst, Dubbo, Wagga, Albury and Tamworth as reason enough to move that way in Orange.

“Absolutely. Centres of a similar size to us all play the graded structure with each club supplying sides for three of four grades,” he added.

“Obviously we won’t be getting that straight away but if we can implement something similar now, it’ll only benefit cricket in the future.”

Team nominations aren’t set to be formalised until next month, but already Frecklington believes first grade will have six teams - Centrals, Cavaliers, Orange City, Waratahs, CYMS and Kinross.

If that is the case, then those six sides will also field second grade teams.

It won’t be a perfect mirror just yet, however.

With Wanderers likely fielding two teams in the lower grades, one of those sides should play second grade while lower grade powerhouse Gladstone is another side likely to play twos in 2014-15.

Any remaining teams will shuffle down to third grade and Centenary Cup.

In other proposed changes for cricket throughout the 2014-15 summer, the season will begin with four rounds of two-day cricket before five rounds of one-day cricket.

The season will then round out with three rounds of two-day cricket leading into the semi-finals.

This year’s one-day cricket will be 50-overs-a-side instead of 40.

Frecklington believes the move to 50-over one-day cricket will ensure the lagging ODCA representative side is better prepared for Mitchell and Western Premier League campaigns.

ODCA changes for 2014-15 season

- Seven rounds of two day cricket - four to begin the year then three to end.

- Five rounds of one day cricket, 50 overs a side, beginning 11am.

- Eight team Royal Hotel Cup, Twenty20.

- Run rate bonus points on offer.

- Structured lower grade competition.

- Top four finals over three weeks.

- Grand Final March 28-29, 2015.

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