The Plan B Regional Bash Male T20 competition enters its fifth season on Sunday with 16 teams from around the State again playing off for a place in a Big Finals Day at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The Sixers and Thunder Conference Finals and Regional Bash Final will be held on Australia Day at the SCG this season.
The winners of the Tamworth and Central Coast/Newcastle Pools will compete for the Sixers Conference Title in January, while the South Coast and ACT Pool winners play off for the Thunder Conference Title.
Playing at the SCG continues a growing tradition for some of the best players in country NSW to be able to walk in the footsteps of cricket’s Greats.
Every preliminary round match will be played during October and early November across four weekends.
Reigning champions Central Coast Rush were the most recent team to triumph on the hallowed turf and start their title defence at home against the Hunter Hitmen.
The opening day features two past champions with 2017/18 winners, the Newcastle Blasters, hosting Lake Mac Attack at Waratah Oval.
All four teams form the Central Coast/Newcastle Pool in the Sixers Conference.
The second weekend of competition will feature North Dalton Park’s first night fixture after being a regular Wollongong venue for the competition.
Illawarra Flames host South Coast Crew on Friday 18 October starting at 7:00pm.
Cricket NSW General Manager, Community Cricket, Ivan Spyrdz, said the Regional Bash is again creating a real buzz throughout NSW and the ACT.
"As the excitement builds towards the fifth edition of the Plan B Regional Bash, we are hearing more and more about how much each team has increased their preparation and focus on taking out the title," said Spyrdz
"In a season where we are leading into two T20 World Cups in Australia, short form cricket continues to grow in regional NSW.
“To claim the Plan B Regional Bash title is becoming more important to those regions."
Through the sponsorship of Transport for NSW, the tournament promotes the importance of those in rural and regional communities having a Plan B when drinking, as opposed to driving.
Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole encouraged friends, families and enthusiasts to get out and watch their favourite teams.
“In the bush, players and supporters often travel long distances for matches – and we want to ensure gets home safely,” Mr Toole said.
“Last year 347 people lost their lives on NSW roads, 234 of them were tragically lost in regional areas.
“We want to see people get out and support their favourite teams and players and to see what this great state has to offer in the regions.
“However, make sure you plan ahead and have a Plan B in place should you want to have a few drinks, or have a long distance to drive.”
All pools have new names for this season. Central Coast has been added to the name of the Newcastle Pool, while Tamworth replaces Port Macquarie as the central title for the group of four teams from Northern NSW.
Those teams are Northern Rivers Rock, Coffs Coast Chargers, Macquarie Coast Stingers and Northern Inland Bolters.
South Coast replaces the Bathurst Pool involving the Flames, Crew, Central West Wranglers and Orana Outlaws.
The Wagga Wagga Pool changes its name to ACT, comprising the Aces, Wagga Wagga Sloggers, Murrumbidgee Rangers and Border Bullets.
Last season saw the emergence of four new contenders with the Rush, Aces, Wranglers and Chargers all qualifying for their first Regional Bash finals.
The Rush defeated the Aces by 24 runs in the Final.
In the first four seasons of the Regional Bash, a different team has won the title each season, demonstrating how strong the competition has become.
The inaugural champions were the Border Bullets based around the Albury/Wodonga area. The Orana Outlaws won the title in 2016/17.
Full schedule available here: http://www.regionalbash.com.au/
Northern Rivers Rock
Coffs Coast Chargers
Macquarie Coast Stingers
Northern Inland Bolters
Central Coast/Newcastle Pool
Lake Mac Attack
Central Coast Rush
South Coast Pool
South Coast Crew
Central West Wranglers
Wagga Wagga Sloggers