Changes to club cricket format for this season

Friday night cricket is back.

The senior club draw is still being finalised, but there is a notable change this season, with the twenty20 tournament trimmed significantly and scheduled for Fridays.

The tournament will get under way on January 18 and run for three weeks. It is a stand-alone competition and will not count towards the Bing Harris Shield.

It is also a straight knockout tournament, so the teams that lose on the opening night are done for the season.

Last summer the teams played 12 twenty20 games each, so it is a big reduction.

Otago Cricket Association operations manager Tim O'Sullivan said it had been cut back to accommodate University-Grange's return to the senior grade.

The club dropped out of the grade four years ago and its return has had a big impact.

With seven clubs in the senior grade, there will need to be a bye, and that has put pressure on the schedule.

"The niggly wee thing is teams get three byes during the season," O'Sullivan said.

"The byes might be of some concern, but in general clubs were happy to see University-Grange get back in."

O'Sullivan hopes to solve the problem of the bye in the twenty20 knockout competition by "pulling together an Otago age group team or something similar".

If an eighth team cannot be found then one of the clubs will get a free pass to the semifinals.

O'Sullivan said Friday night cricket is not unique to Dunedin club cricket. Twenty20s were played on Fridays about seven years ago.

The senior season gets under way on October 6 with a series of one-day matches.

The 50-over format will run through to November 24, but there is no play on Labour weekend.

Declaration cricket begins the following weekend. The last day of cricket this year is on December 15, with the tournament taking a four week break before resuming on January 12.

The declaration format finishes on February 2. A second one-day tournament will get under way the following week and run through until March 23.

O'Sullivan said he hopes to have the draw completed later this week.

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