A big­ger comp than last year

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT -

THERE won’t be any new teams but the Big Bash League sea­son will get big­ger and longer this sum­mer.

Cricket Aus­tralia yes­ter­day an­nounced the sched­ules for both the BBL and WBBL.

Next year’s dou­ble- header grand fi­nal will be held on Fe­bru­ary 4, a week later than what it was this year. The reg­u­lar BBL sea­son starts with a Syd­ney derby at Spot­less Sta­dium on De­cem­ber 19.

The BBL sea­son will fea­ture an ad­di­tional eight matches com­pared to last sum­mer.

Launce­s­ton has been locked in to host its first BBL clash on De­cem­ber 30. Venues for games on Jan­uary 3, 13 and 24 are yet to be con­firmed but it’s ex­pected they will be held in Gee­long, Alice Springs and Can­berra re­spec­tively.

Aus­tralia’s eight Twenty20 fran­chises have been un­able to sign play­ers be­cause of the on­go­ing pay dis­pute. They are among stake­hold­ers hop­ing a res­o­lu­tion is im­mi­nent.

“We know the MOU ( mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing) is still be­ing fi­nalised, but we are con­fi­dent this won’t af­fect the up­com­ing BBL and WBBL sea­son,” league boss An­thony Ever­ard said in a state­ment.

“And we’re look­ing for­ward to wel­com­ing a huge num­ber of trav­el­ling fans who are com­ing out for the Ashes. This will help them plan.”

The later fin­ish to the BBL sea­son means all three fi­nals will be held af­ter the Aus­tralian Open, some­thing that will no doubt ex­cite both CA and Network Ten. There could be a knock- on ef­fect re­gard­ing Sh­effield Shield dates, which are yet to be an­nounced.

The most re­cent Shield sea­son resumed on Fe­bru­ary 1, some­thing that won’t be pos­si­ble in 2018.

Perth Scorchers’ ti­tle de­fence be­gins with a fi­nal re­match against Syd­ney Six­ers on De­cem­ber 23, while Mel­bourne’s two clubs have der­bies on Jan­uary 6 and Jan­uary 12.

The WBBL ac­tion starts with three games on De­cem­ber 9, in­clud­ing a dou­ble- header at North Syd­ney Oval.

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