The release of this season’s Western Zone Premier League draw reveals Orange will have the toughest assignment of any side in their tournament-opener, the Bluebaggers have been handed a first-up trip to Dubbo.
Orange will actually start with a round one bye before heading to Dubbo’s No.1 Oval to face the reigning champions, who were actually crowned joint winners after tying with Bathurst in the 2017-18 decider.
It’s an unenviable trip for any side to make at the best of times, let alone in the first clash of the season when you’re coming off just one win the summer before.
Granted, the Bluebaggers took a number of several huge steps forward last summer, that one victory was over Parkes and broke an 11-year drought against the powerhouse Lachlan Valley side.
The Daryl Kennewell-led Bluebaggers also went within inches of taking down Bathurst too, but were bested by a blistering Mick Curtale ton in their other game of the summer against Cowra.
After travelling to Dubbo first-up Orange will host Cowra, face Parkes in Parkes and then take on Bathurst at Wade Park in a final round grudge match.
The competition kicks off on Sunday, October 14, but Orange doesn’t play its first game until more than a month later on November 18.
This summer Western Zone will also reintroduce a colts competition for the first time in 10 years.
An under-18 carnival will be held in Orange on November 24 and 25, with Bathurst, Orange, Dubbo and an invitational, Chairman’s XI to battle it out in the aim of assisting selections for Western’s Country Cricket NSW Colts Championship.
Orange faces the Chairman’s XI in the Saturday’s game, with the Sunday match-ups to be decided on results.