With the start of the summer comes a new competition, or rather, a revamped one at the very least.
Western Zone will reintroduce its old colts carnival to the 2018-19 schedule, bringing three district sides together with a Chairman’s XI in November, to be played over one weekend in Orange.
The move was welcomed by both the Orange and Bathurst District Cricket Associations, the two governing bodies are happy to see players in the age group receive more representative opportunities.
The weekend’s semi-finals and finals will also act as a selection opportunity for Western’s Country Championship side too.
“We’ve never had a selection process for the colts side. The colts side was mainly picked out of the players who were in opens,” BDCA president Campbell Graham said.
“We decided to bring in a competition to be able to expand the Mitchell colts, who haven’t had much of a competition with just Bathurst, Orange and to a lesser extent Mudgee.
“To include Dubbo and Lachlan into that is a big step forward for Western Zone.”
Mitchell Cricket Council has operated an under-19 competition for the past three seasons, but with the Blue Mountains dropping out of the 2017-18 edition it left players devoid of crucial opportunities on the rep scene.
“It gives other guys an opportunity to prove themselves in this age group because there’s a lot of talent that gets missed,” Graham said.
“It also means that when these players finish their under-16 representative games it gives them something to strive for.”
Orange’s opening game is against the Chairman’s XI on Saturday, November 24, at Jack Brabham. They’ll play either Bathurst or Dubbo the day after, depending on results.
The under-16 age group will also see their return to a Western Zone Premier League format after going unused for the past four seasons. Bathurst, Dubbo, Lachlan and Orange will play one match against each other with contests spread throughout the 2018-19 season.
The first of the matches takes place on October 28.
On a Mitchell front, the under-16 Challenge Shield has been added to the calendar.
The competition will be a three-way contest between Orange, Bathurst and Mitchell East.
Orange plays host to Bathurst in the first of those matches this Sunday from 10am at Country Club Oval.