THE Upper Hunter District Cricket Association (UHDCA) will bat a little deeper this season, with two Muswellbrook teams joining the competition.
The addition of the Brooks will mean the league will boast 10 sides, instead of nine, with Aberdeen pulling its second squad out.
The new inclusions will make for an interesting season, and lead to stronger competition, according to UHDCA president Tim Johnson.
“The more people playing cricket the better,” he said.
“So, [it’s] definitely a boost for the comp, I think it’ll give the guys from the Brook Cricket Club the opportunity to play against a similar standard.”
Despite the change of numbers, the duration of the cricket year won’t be affected, which is pleasing to Johnson.
“The length of the season will be the same as 2017-18, which still gives us a spare weekend at the end of the year for the grand final, in the event of a washout.
“We’re pretty happy with how the comp is looking.”
He also believes the culture of the Muswellbrook club will be a match for the association, and is confident they will bring a mix of quality cricket and good socialising.
The expansion was coined at the end of last season, and passed unanimously at an annual general meeting, after Peter Cooper from the Brooks made a pitch.
As a cricket lover himself, Johnson said the new competitors would make for an even better contest, and can’t wait for them to take to the field in the UHDCA for the first time.
“I’m just looking forward to the season ahead,” he added.
“I’d like to welcome the Brook Cricket Club to the Upper Hunter District Cricket Association and good luck to all those who are participating over the coming months.”
As part of the effort to include the sides, Cooper has also been added to the UHDCA board, and will be a selector for the league’s representative team.
Johnson said that decision was made to ensure there was a voice for the association’s latest members, which is an important part of their integration.
This is sure to be a new page in local cricket history, with Johnson himself being newly-elected as UHDCA’s president.
He’s excited for this year’s proceedings to kick off – and get into the sport so eloquently referred to as “the gentleman’s game”.
However, he admits, he’s not expecting to see any of the local boys on the TV.
“For me, none of us are going to be wearing the baggy green any time soon, but the more blokes playing cricket the better.”