Six teams in first grade cricket

SIX sides will again contest Manning Cricket's first grade competition to start on Saturday October 12 - the same as last season.

They are defending premiers Old Bar along with Taree Leagues, Cundletown, Wingham, Great Lakes and Taree West.

There had been some speculation the competition could be reduced to four teams, however, Manning Cricket secretary Craig Rees assured the six will fight out the title.

As reported earlier this week former Wingham wicket keeper-batsman Ben Cole will play for Old Bar this season, adding to the club's already strong Wingham influence.

A series of T/20 games will start the season for both first and second grades, with the third grade to play one day fixtures.

Mr Rees said there will only be a short break over Christmas/New Year this season. There was no play for more than a month last season and this led to some criticism, with the majority of first grade captains claiming the break was too long.

"They'll only have a couple of weeks off,'' Mr Rees explained.

He added that the third grade competition won't split mid-season as was the case in 2012/13.

"We'll keep the competition intact for the full season, then split for the semi-finals,'' he said.

This means third and fourth grade premierships will be determined, as was the case last year.

Cricket season is set to start.

Cricket season is set to start.