WALCHA cricket will take on a slightly new look this season, with reigning premiers Bowling Club nowhere to be seen.
The champions have pulled out because of a lack of numbers but the competition will still see five teams compete for the Turton Cup and the Walcha News Cup with the reintroduction of Uralla.
Losing BC was a blow but the association was willing to play with only four teams this year before Uralla showed interest.
“It’s a pity,” Walcha DCA president Ed Blomfield said.
“But then last week Uralla wanted to join the comp.
“It was a late inquiry but no one was against it.”
Uralla sides have played Walcha in the past but have been part of the Armidale lower grades in more recent years.
It will not play any games at home this season and will have to travel to Walcha but could start playing on home turf next summer.
BC beat Colts in last season’s grand final but have been struggling for numbers for a few years.
“They’re a good side, there’s no doubting that,” Blomfield said.
“It’s unfortunate it’s happened.
“But they told us they just weren’t going to have the numbers.
“We talked about getting a couple of players from the other sides and keeping five teams but everyone thought it was better to have four more consistent teams.”
The BC players will now join other clubs, which will help make for a strong competition.
Today’s first round of the Turton Cup, which is a Twenty20 competition, will see Colts take on Round Swamp and Kentucky will face Rugby League.
Uralla gets the first week off and will make its return next week.
The Turton Cup goes for five weeks and the association will then hold its annual six-a-side tournament before the start of the Walcha News Cup premiership.
The six-a-side has traditionally been played the weekend before Christmas but has been moved forward in the schedule in the hope it will attract more teams.
Walcha’s district side will also play its first game next week so today’s matches will provide a good warm-up and possibly a selection trial for that team.
The first-round Country Plate game sees Walcha host Inverell next Sunday in what is Inverell’s debut in that competition.
Walcha is aiming to repeat last year’s efforts and make the Plate finals.