Newcastle District Cricket Association have officially delayed the start of the 2021-2022 season as the state's governing body discusses potential COVID vaccination requirements for participants.
NDCA chairman Paul Marjoribanks said the goal now, given last week's coronavirus lockdown extension for the Hunter region, was to try and complete 11 rounds during this upcoming campaign.
It comes as Cricket NSW recently circulated an email, obtained by the Newcastle Herald, suggesting a 'jab and play' strategy could be introduced as the sport attempts to return amid the global pandemic.
Marjoribanks said getting first-grade teams to play each other at least once throughout Newcastle's regular season was the primary objective because of the disruption to the original schedule.
Round one was supposed to be October 9, however, the earliest season opener is now November 6.
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"The aim now is to play 11 rounds of cricket," Marjoribanks said.
"When we start remains unknown, but it we do get on in early November those 11 rounds could be a mix of two-day and one-day games. But if there are any more delays then we may have to revisit how we play those 11 rounds with all one-dayers.
"If every team played each other once in the regular season, plus our T20 competition after Christmas, we've probably done pretty well given the circumstances."
Cricket NSW have yet to confirm any COVID policies, however, are working towards community sport being considered when vaccination rates reach 70 or 80 percent.
"While there is understandingly a lack of clarity at this time from the NSW Government around a return to community sport, CNSW believes it is our responsibility to assist in making a decision given that it is highly likely that a return to sport will not be without restrictions," the email read.
"CNSW believes that it is responsible to provide a safe playing environment for our cricketers and, to this end, everyone who participates in cricket and can be vaccinated, is vaccinated."
Meanwhile, Newcastle selectors have also announced a representative squad for 2021-22 with the likes of Josh Bennett (University), Kain Anderson (Hamilton-Wickham) and Josh Claridge (Waratah-Mayfield) returning to the district this summer.
Nick Foster, Adrian Chad, Daniel Arms, Jeff Goninan, Nathan Hudson, Jacob Montgomery, Ben Balcomb, Aidan Cahill, Brad Aldous and Dan Bailey remain from Newcastle's title defence in last season's NSW Country Championships.
Dates for the representative program, including the NSW Country Championships and T20 Regional Bash competition, remain up in the air because of various coronavirus restrictions across the state.
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