New cricket format and big finish for league

The South Coast Cricket Association will introduce a brand new look for the 2014-15 season, with the general committee ratifying many of the proposed changes proposed by the Board earlier this year.

Under the changes, there will be a new three-tier top grade competition; premier, first division and second division – each containing six teams, which will replace the former first, second and third grade competitions.

Third and fourth grade, which will be all one-day games, will remain the same as previous seasons.

The new competition will start after the October long weekend, with full rounds of one-day and two-day games scheduled. The T-20 competition will be fitted in around the rest of the competition.

South Coast Cricket Association president Tony Panecasio said the new format would take a lot of pressure off clubs and their players, alleviating the need for any Sunday cricket, apart from representative games.

“It will mean we won’t be clashing with winter sports, and will also give us the opportunity to schedule a spare weekend for finals,” he said.

Early indications are that there will be seven nominations for both the premier and first divisions, with clubs invited to submit their plans for the upcoming season, including playing strength The Board will make a final decision at the next meeting - July 28.

Plans are also underway for a season launch, on a date to be advised, with matches between premiers Albion Park and the Konica Cup representative side and the South Coast Institute and an ‘Oldies’ side containing former top grade cricketers or officials.

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The countdown toward the finals of the VB South Coast Group 7 Rugby League season is well-and-truly on, with seven teams realistically and eight mathematically, still having a chance of making the top five, in one of the tightest competitions in years.

Probably the biggest surprise is the indifferent form of premiers Gerringong Lions, who are currently sitting in seventh spot. While they are just one point off the five with a game in hand against Berry Magpies, they look down on confidence and a shadow of the team that took all before them last year and currently boast a 6-6 win-loss record.

No one is going to write them off, particularly as they still have the majority of that champion team still available but I don’t think anyone anticipated just how much they would miss retired captain Ryan Staples and his ‘partner in crime’, Michael Brown.

Here is how the teams will face off over the next five rounds, keeping in mind that Berry and Gerringong will play their deferred round one match on Sunday, July 27 at Gerringong.

Warilla-Lake South (27) play Berry (home), Milton (away), Gerringong (away), Jamberoo (home) and Nowra-Bomaderry (home).

Shellharbour City (24) play Kiama (a), Berry (h), Port Kembla (h), Milton (h) and Jamberoo (a).

Nowra-Bomaderry (20) play Gerringong (a), Port Kembla (h), Albion Park (a), Berry (h) and Warilla (a).

Berry Magpies (18) play Warilla (a), Gerringong (a), Shellharbour (a), Jamberoo (h), Nowra-Bomaderry (a) and Albion Park (a).

Jamberoo (17) play Port Kembla (a), Albion Park (h), Berry (a), Warilla (a) and Shellharbour (h).

Kiama (17) play Shellharbour (h), Gerringong (a), Milton (h), Port Kembla (h) and have a final round bye.

Gerringong (16) play Nowra-Bomaderry (h), Berry (h), Kiama (h), Warilla (h), Albion Park (a) and Port Kembla (h).

Albion Park-Oak Flats (12) play four of the contenders after Milton away this weekend, Jamberoo (a), Nowra-Bomaderry (h), Gerringong (h) and Berry (h) and while probably are a bit too far off the pace, may still play a major role in who makes the semis.

Momentum, particularly at this end of the season, is a great thing and Berry, with six on-the-trot and the Jets with five are, without doubt, the form teams, while Kiama, with four successive losses seem to be starting to tail off.

Stay tuned for what looks like being a huge end to the preliminary rounds.

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