The sun is shining and the weather fining, which can mean only one thing - cricket season!
The 14-strong Northern Rivers League (LJ Hooker League) is the biggest in regional NSW and local fans can't wait for the action to get under way today
“There's nothing like an Ashes series loss to get Aussie cricketers into action,” Murwillumbah's Keith Wyatt said.
“There was a lot of pre-season action, and now it's into the real thing.”
Recruiting best in the off-season were the South Tweed Colts, who attracted a number of Gold Coast players thanks to incoming captain/coach Jack Boote.
Boote transferred from Palm Beach in the off-season and brought with him the Webb Shield's Kayne Gillingham (medium fast bowler), Thomas Dublar (all-rounder), Andrew Dublar (top-order batsman), Jay Thompson (batsman) and Clint Bailey (batsman).
Combine the new blood with club stalwarts Joel Walle, Tate Burns Vickery, Beau Pearson and Jeremy Pierce, and Colts look likely to be the force of the Tweed region.
“I'm looking forward to the new start,” Boote said.
“We've got a good bunch of young players and I'm excited to get the season under way. As long as we work as a team and stick to the game plan we'll enjoy a good season.”
However the ever-strong Cudgen, boasting a string of the region's best, will again throw out a strong challenge.
Last year's semi-finalists have been one of the powerhouses of the Tweed in recent times, and will be a true test of how Colts stand when the two sides clash in the season opener at Reg Dalton Oval today.
“This derby should prove the match of the round,” Wyatt said.
“The number of imports joining the competition is sure to boost the standard.”
“Cudgen will be a great opening match for us,” Boote said. “They are a strong team and the yardstick for us to realise where we are at.”
Like Colts, Pottsville too have gained a couple of new players, and last year's wooden spooners will be put to the test when they open their season on the road to South Lismore.
Murwillumbah will again rely heavily on senior players Aaron Chapman and Paul Dhillon in their 2009/10 campaign, which they open away to Alstonville.
Many of their younger players will be better for a season in the senior grade last year, and will be expected to show improvement, but it will be a tough ask in this strong league.
Terranora have gained the ser- vices of Chad Harvey from Cudgen and are certain to again prove a formidable challenge to any team in the competition.
They begin their crusade at home to Marist Brothers.
Elsewhere, defending premiers Ballina Bears, who have secured two UK imports, battle Southern Districts, while Casino, led by NSW Country batsman Sam Irvine, host Lennox Head, and Tintenbar take on Brunswick Byron.
The action kicks off at 1pm.