Byron Bay Cricket Club is preparing for a big season with a return to first grade as well as the preparation of their first ever hometown turf pitch at the Cavanbah Centre.
Although Byron’s top senior side has won the local Coastal League premiership (second grade) for the last three years, the move to the Far North Coast LJ Hooker League is about providing a more comprehensive pathway for young local players.
‘They want to enjoy the highest grade of regional cricket without having to travel to other areas,’ BBCC’s Jason Trisley said.
‘There are plenty of young quality players who have had to leave the club to play in first grade, which is considered one of the benchmark competitions in regional NSW.
‘The move into the area’s top-grade is all about providing more local opportunities for young Byron Bay cricketers,’ he said. ‘Having a first grade side will mean these players don’t have to leave the Club’.
Despite the recent strong form of the top side Jason has no illusions that it will be an easy season.
‘It is a very strong competition that includes the top players from the Richmond Valley, Lismore, Ballina and Tweed Shire council areas. For us this year it is all about getting a feel for the competition,’ he said.
The BBCC last played in the Far North Coast League in the 2012/13 season.
The Club is also excited about preparing a local turf pitch, the first in its 40-year history
Over the last few weeks volunteers from the BBCC have been busily working under the guidance of pitch expert Duncan Elphick of Elfco Greenkeeping, to transform what has been the centre square at AFL oval at the Cavanbah Centre.
A basis of a pitch was initially created eight years ago when the Centre was opened but it wasn’t used. The preparation work has focused on removing the top layer of grass and sandy soil form the AFL square to reveal the original clay bed, which has been added to and levelled in the last weeks.
The players are now eagerly awaiting new grass to emerge on the square before final preparations of a playing surface can begin.
The first home game on the oval this season is scheduled for mid-November.
Previously Byron Bay travelled to Brunswick’s Stan Thompson Oval to host home games on the turf pith there.
‘Having a turf pitch will also allow the Club to be part of our regional junior cricket carnivals that bring players from across NSW and interstate to the area,’ Jason said.
The 2020/21 Covid-safe season kicks off on October 17. Anyone interested in playing, young or old, should contact their local club.