Senior country week shake-up announced
Sweeping changes have been announced to representative cricket by WA Country Cricket Board chairman Rob Marshall.
The biggest alteration is to senior country week with a new system of eight teams, in two divisions of four, for each section.
Previously, there were two divisions of five per section, with divisional winners facing the other in a final.
Play for the 2018 Alcohol, Think Again title will start on Sunday, January 21, under the new format.
Each team will play the others in its division once with rounds 2 and 3 on the Monday and Tuesday.
The Wednesday remains a rest day and on the Thursday, firstplaced teams in each division play second-placed teams in crossover semifinals.
Winners of those games will meet in a final on the Friday with the winner from B-section and lower promoted for the next season.
Teams that do not qualify for finals will play for position on the Thursday and Friday and the team finishing last overall will be demoted. The cricket board is considering Friday games that have no promotion or relegation impact may be T20 games.
The new format is the biggest change to country week since limited overs cricket was introduced in 1979 in response to too many draws. Other major changes included the institution of B-section in 1933 as the number of competing teams had blossomed. Further sections were added from 1950 when more than 50 and eventually more than 70 teams entered.
The Toyota T20 Country Cup has been abandoned for 2017-18 due to a lack of participating associations.
The Country Cup began as a 50overs-a-side series in 1980-81 and went to a T20 format in 2010-11.
However, many associations, Geraldton among them, have found it difficult to commit to the Country Cup on top of country week which is not only a big demand on players, but expensive.
The cricket board is looking at potential new structures for the Country Cup which will be discussed at the association presidents’ meeting in January.