After months of preparation, the South Coast Cricket board has finalised gradings for the 2014-15 season, with the highlight being the new three-tier structure to replace the old first and second grade competitions.
The new Premier League will include Lake Illawarra, Oak Flats, Shellharbour, Albion Park Eagles, Kiama and Kookas.
First Grade Lake Illawarra, Oak Flats, Gerringong, Jamberoo, Shellharbour and The Rail.
Second Grade Albion Park Rail, Kookas, Gerringong, Jamberoo, Albion Park Eagles and Kiama.
There will also be a lower grades one-day competitions.
“The rationale behind the change in structure is driven by a desire to improve the overall standard of cricket in the district,” South Coast Cricket Association president Tony Panecasio said.
“Many of our clubs are going through different stages of development with lots of young players coming into grade at an earlier age.
“The disparity between the top and bottom clubs under the previous structure was evident in both first and second grades.
“This new format will, in theory, allow clubs to develop at a level that is more competitive rather than face the prospect of heavy losses week after week.
“While it has been a difficult process it is in the interests of the long term viability of the competition.
The new season will commence on Saturday, October 11 in all grades and to be honest this is the most I have looked forward to a South Coast Cricket season in years..
The VB South Coast Group 7 competition final five seems to have come down to a shootout between keen rivals Jamberoo Superoos and Kiama Knights plus Berry Magpies, with the Knights' big win over Milton-Ulladulla last weekend giving them the advantage, despite trailing the Jamberoo side by two on the points table.
The Knights (19) play Port Kembla at home this Sunday, and after breaking a six-game losing streak last Sunday. They should win comfortably and then have the bye, so should finish on 23.
The Superoos (21) are in fifth, but face likely minor premiers Warilla Gorillas away and second placed Shellharbour City at home, and despite vastly improved showings in three of their last four games, have been unable to close the points differential from two heavy early season losses, meaning if they finish equal with Kiama, the Knights will take fifth spot.
The Magpies (18) play third-placed Nowra-Bomaderry on Saturday night and need for the others to fall in a heap, and down the Jets and Albion Park-Oak Flats in the final round to sneak in.
The coaching merry-go-round continues in the NRL, with John Cartwright gone from the Gold Coast Titans, Wayne Bennett heading back to the Broncos and who knows who will be coaching the Wests Tigers - although it seems as though it won’t be Mick Potter.
The biggest question at the moment is what has happened to the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs who have lost four-in-a-row and are now on the verge of dropping out of the top eight when they play Parramatta Eels on Friday night.