Friday night T20 contest back again

Friday night cricket is back — again.

The Dunedin senior club draw is expected to be announced later this week but there is a significant change to the format .

The premier twenty20 competition has been cut back to just one round-robin on Friday nights.

The six teams will then reassemble on the Saturday to play a round of 50-over games.

That part of the season is tightly packed and, as a result, it has freed up some space on the calendar for a 50-over finals day later in the summer and an extended Christmas-New Year break — a week longer this year.

The changes had been driven by feedback in a player survey, Otago Cricket Association community cricket general manager Andrew Petrie said.

‘‘The feedback was that people love Friday night cricket,’’ Petrie said.

‘‘We had lower-grade finals on a Friday night [last season] and the atmosphere around that was great.

‘‘It also means, with them backing up with 50-over cricket on a Saturday, we can get through more cricket in a shorter period of time.’’

It is not the first time the premier grade has played T20s on a Friday night.

The concept was first tried in the earlier 2010s and returned for the 2018-19 season.

Competitions manager Nic Kittelty said the move to reduce the T20 competition to one round was also player-driven.

‘‘The general feedback was there was too much T20,’’ Kittelty said.

‘‘By playing five round-robin games, it will bring really valuable fixtures.’’

The premier T20 competition will get under way on December 3 and run for three weeks before breaking for Christmas. It will resume on January 21 with the final slated for February 12, a Saturday.

The declaration round will begin the following weekend and run for five weeks.

The one-day competition is a stop-start affair. It gets under way on the opening day of the season on October 30 and runs for eight weeks.

It resumes after Christmas with two more rounds. The last round-robin game is on January 29 but the final is not scheduled until March 26.

It is a finals day this season as well, which is an innovation.

All six premier grade sides will play seeded games, so 1v2, 3v4 and 5v6.

Last season Carisbrook-Dunedin and Kaikorai agreed to a two-year trial merger and the clubs will seek to formalise the amalgamation by September next year.

The combined premier grade side won the Bing Harris Shield, so will start the season as defending champion.

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