20 teams set for weekend's Stan Alberts Shield
CRICKET: The Stan Alberts Shield has come a long way since Robert Garrett dreamed the event to life more than four years ago.
Six teams padded up for the inaugural 20/20 indigenous cricket carnival in 2016.
This year 20 teams will contest the Bidgerdii Community Health Service-sponsored four-day event at Kalka Shades.
Garrett, from Team Indigenous Corporation and who is the carnival co-ordinator, is looking forward to what promises to be another keenly contested carnival.
Eight men's teams and four women's teams will compete, while an over-45 men's and a youth teams competition have been introduced this year.
"This is the fourth year of the event and it gets bigger and bigger every year,” Garrett said. "It's really is exciting and it's hard to comprehend how much it's grown.
"We're also getting interest from interstate and I believe there will be interstate teams playing in the carnival in the near future.”
Teams will travel from Toowoomba, Ipswich, Bowen and Townsville to take on the local outfits in the four divisions, with more than 50 games to be played over the four days.
The carnival opens with the CQID Deadly Day on Thursday. There will be a traditional Welcome to Country by Darumbal traditional owners at 9am before the youth competition starts at 10am.
The men's, women's and over-45s competitions start at 9am on Friday.
Play will continue on Saturday and Sunday, culminating in the Stan Alberts Shield final at 2.30pm Sunday.
Garrett said three-time men's champions Toowoomba Warriors would start firm favourites to make it four in a row but could expect some stiff competition from Rocky Renegades and Rocky United.
In the women Black Diamonds would be strong contenders, while the Kenny Willie-led Dyillinba were shaping as the team to beat in the over-45s.
Garrett said the youth competition would also serve as a vehicle for Queensland Cricket's Eddie Gilbert Talented Identification Program.
He encouraged spectators to head to Kalka Shades to enjoy some quality cricket over the Easter weekend. Entry is free.