THE start of the revamped Mid North Coast inter-district cricket competition has been delayed until mid-January.
The three MNC associations, Manning, Hastings and Macleay, will be involved in First XI and over 35 competitions. Gloucester is also expected to field an over 35 side, but the Bushmen will also be available for selection in the Manning First XI as the side plays in the Manning T1 competition.
Manning Cricket president Steve Campbell said it was decided at a Mid North Coast meeting this week to start the competitions in mid-January. Manning, Hastings and Macleay would each host a round, with the two leading teams then meeting in the final.
"We're looking at playing the round games on three consecutive Sundays,'' he said.
Mr Campbell said the decision to wait until January was to give the juniors clear space to run their representative program. He said the availability of turf wickets in the three associations is currently a problem due to the ongoing wet weather.
Chatham Park, Johnny Martin Oval and Cedar Party Reserve at Wingham are currently out of play.
"The wickets are fine at Chatham and Wingham, but the outfields are saturated,'' he said.
Mr Campbell doesn't expect the Martin Oval to be back in action before Christmas.
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"Council can't even get on it to mow the field,'' he said.
Mr Campbell said the MNC decided not to play a colts grade, at least for this season.
"The juniors now play representative matches up to under 17s,'' he said.
Mr Campbell said it is likely this will be reviewed for next season.
Players have until Christmas to nominate for the inter-district teams.
"Once players get a few games under their belts and shake off some of the rust, I'm confident they'll nominate,'' he said.
"And that's another reason we've gone for the shorter rep program, so there's less commitment for the players.''
The opening of the current season has been disrupted by wet weather, with two of the three rounds washed out.
This will be the first time since 2016/17 that a First XI competition has been contested. It was scrapped when the Mid North Coast Premier League was formed the following summer. However, the premier league has now gone by the wayside.
Meanwhile, Mr Campbell confirmed Stan Austin Cup, a carnival for under 16 representative teams, has been put back a week. This will now be played from January 16 to 19.
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