After a long winter, a blockbuster weekend of matches will be hosted as the Grampians Cricket Association commences its new season.
In what is a new look fixture, due to Navarre removing a team from A grade, St Andrews entering an A grade side, and the Buangor and Tatyoon sides combining, round one looks certain to impress.
In the grand final rematch and the match of the round, reigning premiers Swifts-Great Western will travel to Buangor to take on the new Buangor-Tatyoon side.
Michael Harricks will captain the new team and hope to pinch the win from Swifts-Great Western in the first one-day game.
Buangor-Tatyoon has combined teams for this season, as they allow junior players to develop, ready for the higher grade of cricket.
“Talks were happening around this decision and about the numbers we were looking at for the season,” Harricks said.
In what is an ironic turn of events, from last years semi final, where Buangor defeated Tatyoon, the club is confident going into the new season.
“Both clubs have always had a great relationship. We see this as an opportunity for development. After losing players we are able to field competitive sides in both grades,” he said.
The team will go into the new season without former Tatyoon player Jarrod Blandford and Buangor’s Chris Jerram, both moving to East Ballarat.
“It was a blow to lose big name players. We have picked up a few players who will be a great inclusion into the side,” he said.
Female cricketer Kayla Stuchbree has also made a move to the combined club.
Harricks said the combination will ensure junior players can reach the skill level to play competitive A grade cricket.
“Junior players get more development and reward from batting up the order and bowling more overs in B grade than the exposure they get in A grade cricket,” he said.
Halls Gap will host Youth Club in their first match.
With no win recorded last season it will be a tough ask for the Gappers to get the honours against the Clubbers.
Luke Stevens has committed as captain of Halls Gap and will look for improvement from his side.
Youth Club will be looking to secure an early win with Nic Baird overseeing the side.
Gordon Street Oval will see the former B grade champions, St Andrews take on Aradale which should be a good contest.
Aradale, led again by Clint Rodger will look for a finals berth this year after last seasons finals by one point.
St Andrews have advanced into the A grade fixture by promotion and will be captained by Ben Boatman.
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