T20 games designed to attract more junior players
CRICKET: In a bid to capitalise on the growing popularity of the Big Bash League, Rockhampton's junior cricketers will play a T20 competition in the second half of the 2016-17 season.
Rockhampton Junior Cricket vice-president Tony Newman said the Cricket Australia Pathways initiative was designed to get more kids in the 10 to 12 years age group playing cricket.
"Traditionally after the Big Bash, we get a wave of interest from young players who are really inspired by what they've been watching on the television,” he said.
"It makes sense then that we can let them play in a similar format.
"It is also about trying to speed the games up. The regulation games we played in the season go for four hours; the T20 games are more like no longer than two and half hours.”
Newman said it was hoped the split season would increase existing membership at local clubs.
Interested players do not have to be currently registered with a club or have played in the opening half of the season.
The T20 sides will have nine players rather than 11.
Blake Rutherford, regional development manager Mackay Whitsundays and Central Queensland, said the revised junior format would give the region a headstart in adapting to a major change in cricket across the country.
"The new formats are currently still at pilot stage with a lot of time and effort being put in by both the national and state bodies including us at Queensland Cricket to ensure they are working well before a more uniform implementation,” he said.
"I've seen them in action in all the age groups in the pilot region of Mackay from under-10s to 16s and it not only has improved the standard of cricket but has helped make the game more enjoyable and engaging for all players.
"We are not re-inventing the wheel, we are simply scaling junior cricket to suit player ability and development which is what most major sports have already done at a junior level.”
Anyone wanting more information on the T20 competition can contact Rockhampton Cricket via Facebook, or find their closest club via the Cricket Australia website - www.playcricket.com.au.