By TANIA PHILLIPS
THE NSW long-weekend has caused major disruptions to many of the Tweed teams for the opening round of the newly named Gabba Sports Cup Cricket (formerly Konica Cricket Cup) competition.
Cudgen will be without eight of their regular first and second grade players while Terranora is facing a similar problem with nine of their regulars missing this week.
"It is a bit disappointing that the season starts on a NSW long weekend," Cudgen president Gerry Keyte said.
"They could have drawn us against other NSW teams rather than have us play Queensland teams that don't have a holiday.
"We have eight regular players out in both grades."
Gabba Sports Cup chairman Rod Rice said they could not start the compeition any later.
"The QCA and sub districts competitions all started two weeks ago," he said.
"We can't start any later."
He said a lot of the clubs were without their full teams at this time of year.
"University exams have depleted some clubs," he said.
Cudgen will start their season against the strong Broadbeach Robina club at Presley Oval Broadbeach today.
The side will be captained by talented all-rounder Craig Wilson, who takes over from high profile player-coach Darryl Wylie. Keyte said the club's new management had decided to consolidate their resources this year and rely on their home-grown talent.
The team will be boosted by the return of top batsman Terry Wilson next game after a season with the Shepshed Club in Yorkshire. Juniors Mitch Lawrence , Luke Waide and Jordan Wilson will make their first grade debuts this week.
South Tweed Colts will also have a new look this season. Colts who finished second last last year will take on Redland Sharks at Charlie Buckler Oval, at Broadwater Terrace, Redlands.
Fast bowler Joel Walle comes back from a two-year injury lay-off to take over the captaincy. The side has also signed Northern Territory player Damien Billings, former Murwillumbah bowler Nigel Chapman and Terranora speedster Justin Pierce while Norm Silley comes back into strengthen the batting. The side will have an average age of 23 this year.
Terranora, who take on fellow Tweed team Murwillumbah today at Bilambil, have also gone for a youth policy and will sport probably the youngest team of the competition.
The team will be captained by Micheal Gray with young wicketkeeper Alex Rigby, spinner Grant Thompson and dependable quick Craig Bonner sure to be among their key players.
Meanwhile their opponents Murwillumbah have been boosted by the return of Kevan Newell to the captaincy. Newell was out injured and with work commitments for most of last season. Todd Savins has come back in to wicketkeep after a strong season in second grade last year while former Helensvale batsman Sam Porter is among their new recruits.