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Colts under lights

Friday, 18th October, 2013

The previous Under 16 Barrier District Cricket League competition will be lifted to Under 17s this season.PICTURE: Gavin Schmidt The previous Under 16 Barrier District Cricket League competition will be lifted to Under 17s this season.PICTURE: Gavin Schmidt

By By Ethan James

Dwindling player numbers have forced the Barrier District Cricket League to restructure the format of their junior cricket competition.

The previous Under 16 age restriction has been lifted to Under 17s due to a shortage of players.

“We had a trial on Monday night and we probably only got enough numbers to form the equivalent of two teams,” BDCL President Peter Johnston said.

“We are battling for numbers, we had roughly 9-10 per team so we’ve probably got to pick up a another 4-5 players in total (to make the three team competition feasible).

“But we do need three teams to make it a genuine competition.”

Matches will now be played on a Monday night under lights to make it more appealing to their young target base.

Mr Johnston is hoping the changes in format will lead to a stronger competition, while simultaneously proving a more attractive proposition to individuals looking to get involved.

The BDCL faced the same issues in the U14s league which resulted in a major overhaul of the competition’s structure.

The age group was split into four squads named
after Australian captains (Waugh, Taylor, Clarke and Ponting) which then ‘pair up’ to play one match.

The four squads form different combinations each week to ensure variation.

However, according to Johnston, it would not be as straightforward for the U17 bracket to move away from their link with the district clubs.

He said it was important to keep a close relationship between underage groups and senior clubs because many of the top individuals play a significant amount of cricket at either A Grade or B Grade level.

He also believes junior sport participation concerns are not solely restricted to Broken Hill, with the local issue an example of a broader problem.

“I don’t think it’s just a country thing, I’ve talked to people from the cities and they’re facing similar problems. I think junior sport is in a bit of strife not just here but around the country,” he said.

“There’s no magic formula or fix ... we just need to keep plugging away.”

The U17 league is scheduled to begin on Monday with North taking on Central at Jubilee Oval at 5pm.

Both sides get the opportunity to bat for two hours, or an equivalent number of overs.

West have an opening round bye.

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