Narrabri District Cricket Association held its annual general meeting at the Narrabri RSL Club on Wednesday last week at which the season start date, the game’s vaccination stance and the plan regarding COVID-19 were among the topics discussed.

The NDCA executive has remained unchanged for the 2021-22 season, with Josh Rose (president), Chris Watkins (senior vice-president), Bill Wood (secretary), David McInnes (junior vice-president) and Luke Meppem (treasurer) all re-elected into the roles they occupied during the previous campaign.

NDCA life member Tony Meppem is the patron for the 2021-22 campaign, while the board members include Jade Lees, Lachlan Woolford, Jake Thurston, Brendon Ward, Ty Baker and Jarrett Tough.

The three-man grounds’ committee will be chaired by Kaleb Mowle and includes two first grade skippers in Meppem and Tough.

This season, there will again be four teams in first grade, with the 2020-21 campaign’s champions RSL, grand finalists Western Razorbacks, preliminary finalists Tourist Hotel and wooden spooners Tatts each nominating a side in the top grade.

However, the NDCA’s second grade competition will have one less team after only four nominated to compete.

With the Razorbacks facing player unavailability, especially earlier in the season, the club decided against fielding a second XI for this season.

Tourist Hotel, which has fielded two second grade sides during the past two seasons, was set to only nominate one, however, has elected to go with two again to ensure the competition will have four teams.

Discussions are continuing regarding one of those Tourist Hotel second grade teams including players from the Razorbacks who would still be eligible to play for the Wee Waa-based club in first grade if selected.

Based on the latest advice from the NSW government, the NDCA has committed to commencing its season on Saturday, October 30. That start date will ultimately be dictated by NSW government rules regarding community sport at the time, based on the state’s vaccination rates.

The draw will be finalised at the next NDCA board meeting, but one change from last season already confirmed is that the first grade one day season will be shortened from 15 rounds to 12. That will see each team play against its three opposition sides four times each.

The T20 Super Slog competition will be played again during the 2021-22 campaign, while second grade sides will again play a mixture of one day matches and club-based T20 games which will again be two separate competitions.

The one day grand final day and the NDCA’s presentation awards event will likely be held on March 19.

The NDCA is currently bracing for the possibility of player ineligibility prior to December 1, which is the date that the NSW government has stated that all persons, regardless of their vaccination status, will be permitted to take part in community sport.

Before then, Narrabri cricket will continue to follow the guidelines handed down by NSW government and Cricket NSW, which currently involves a ‘no vax no play policy’ and a COVID-plan to be in place for the association to enforce all necessary rules and regulations.

As far as representative cricket is concerned, the North Inland Cricket Council’s MA Connolly Cup campaign will likely get underway in November. Narrabri District Cricket Association fielded two sides in the competition last year, however, has opted to go with one in season 2021-22.

Meanwhile, a senior women’s T20 competition is expected to be played this season. A four-team comp will likely get underway in February, with a grand final between the two top-ranked teams on the ladder to be played on NDCA preliminary final day in March.

The current plan is to play women’s competition matches under lights on Saturdays at Collins Park and Hogan Oval after the men’s matches have been completed.

Females aged 12-years-and-over will be eligible to compete in that competition.

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