Cricket returns, with Parkes and Cowra sides contesting Lachlan league

GET READY FOR CRICKET: Parkes opening batter Peter Yelland. Photo: Jenny Kingham.
GET READY FOR CRICKET: Parkes opening batter Peter Yelland. Photo: Jenny Kingham.

It's that time of year again - when the refreshing sound of leather on willow dominates the weekend sporting landscape.

The first round of Lachlan Premier Cricket is this Saturday, with three teams from Parkes and two from Cowra competing in the league and it's a local derby to kick things off with the Cats and Colts doing battle on Woodward Oval at 1.30pm.

Colts opening batter and LPC Senior Vice President Peter Yelland is keen for cricket to begin for the summer, despite the wildly different preparation 2020 has put up.

"The advantage is there has always been a directive from both Cricket NSW and Cricket Australia that come the first week in October we would be almost uninhibited," says Yelland.

"We have been able to do some preseason; the COVID-19 restrictions affects more kids than seniors - they need to train in bigger groups and have parents floating around so at least us seniors have been able to get a bit of preparation in.

"For me personally though, to be honest I haven't even looked at my cricket gear!"

It hasn't been just the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected cricket season, winter sports have gone on much longer than usual - meaning people aren't as prepared for cricket season to begin just a couple of weeks after the winter codes have ended.

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Yelland was confident all the Premier sides were looking good ahead of 2020/21, though the local Parkes competition numbers have slowly declined, with the number of teams down from 10 to five over the last few years.

He was also keen to point out that Premier cricket would suit absolutely anyone who is keen to turn up each week and have a red hot crack.

"Premier cricket has both ends of the spectrum, you've got the oldies then the youngsters start to filter in at about 14 and 15.

"Half a dozen of our players in the Colts are under 17.

"The kids that play Premier cricket aren't always the biggest or the most skilful, they're the kids that just really want the extra competition.

"We're always looking for numbers in Premier cricket, it's not about ability - it's about anyone who is willing to turn up each weekend and put in," says Yelland.

Also beginning this weekend is the Western Zone Premier League, with Dubbo hosting Parkes in the first round.

The Parkes team should be reasonably competitive, though the side copped a huge blow with star Myles Smith now plying his trade in Dubbo, seeking a higher level of competition.

Smith is one of the stars of the entire Western Zone, not just Parkes, so he leaves a big void to fill - though it obviously provides an opportunity for a young player to develop themselves and fill the chasm.

Their match will be this Sunday at Victoria Park 1 in Dubbo beginning at 10am.