Orange pulls on the pads to tackle Cowra in the first representative game of the season on October 22 with new challenges in sight.
The Western Zone Premier League of past seasons is gone leaving the McDonalds Cup knockout competition for country areas throughout NSW and the President’s Cup under a new format as the sole representative contests of 2016-17.
Last season’s captain-coach Dave Boundy said the team for the first clash at Wade Park would be named early next week.
Big-hitting batsman Richie Venner is set to again be the mainstay of the side.
Over the past three years we have been trying to build some consistency.
Boundy said: “He has a long history of being the rep captain. He’s a fairly influential player.”
He said he was hoping to step down from his role as coach but so far no one else has put up their hand to take over.
“I’d imagine I’ll be back,” he said.
Boundy said Orange finished last representative season well and was hoping they could build on it.
“Over the last three years we’ve been trying to build some consistency and get a more experienced team we can build with.
“The last game last season we had our best players in the competition together and we knocked Dubbo over.”
But, he said getting all the top players together on one day was proving difficult with work, school and social commitments.
“People just don’t want to commit.”
Orange play Cowra in the first round of the McDonalds Cup, a 50-over one dayer, with the winner to back up against Parkes the next day.
“It’s going to be difficult, extremely difficult. Those kind of weekends present big problems. It could be hectic early on.”
The Cowra game is the last of round one as the other teams will play over the previous two weekends.
Dubbo will play Bathurst on October 23.
The third round of the tournament will be played on November 6 and 20 ahead of an eventual grand final at Grafton’s Ellem Oval on December 30.
Boundy said the other representative fixture for Orange would be the revamped President’s Cup tournament early in the new year.
“I don’t know why the Premier League was dropped. In previous years the Western Zone Premier League has been quite good.
“We’re going back to the original structure of what the Western Zone competition was about with Mitchell (Orange, Bathurst and Blue Mountains), Macquarie (Dubbo) and Lachlan (Parkes, Cowra and Young) playing in the President’s Cup.”
But, unlike previous years where the tournament was played over one weekend this round-robin tournament would be played over several weeks with the top two teams in a grand final.
Boundy said players in the mix for Orange selection would include batsman and wicketkeeper Matt Corben, batsman Michael Hannelly and opening bowler Chris Novak.