Cessnock first grade cricket will return on October 30, despite neighbouring Singleton cricket association delaying their start to the season until December 4 when both double vaxed and unvaccinated players can take part.
The Cessnock and District Cricket Association decided at a meeting on Wednesday night that double vaccination rates among players and officials would be sufficient for an October 30 start in first grade, with second and fourth grade starting on November 6.
The third grade competition will start on December 4.
In other news
Training can start from Monday, October 11, but as with competition games until December 4 all participants 16 and over must be double vaccinated.
Cessnock first grade teams will play each other for the first month and then switch to the Coalfields Cup competition with Singleton first grade teams from December 4, with a nine game season to be played before and after Christmas.
As well as the Coalfields Cup title there will be a Cessnock first grade premiership with teams effectively playing each other twice and the top two teams to play off in a grand final.
"We got feedback from the clubs on what their vaccination rates were good for first grade, second and fourth grades," Cessnock and District Cricket Association secretary Mark Bercini said.
"The struggling grade as far as available numbers is third so we won't kick that off until December 4.
"We will have an extended break over Christmas and do away with the T20s this year.
"Everyone was on board and it was really productive. We'll be able to schedule byes for when teams might have trouble with numbers so it should work out really well."
The Coalfields Cup competition featuring Cessnock and Singleton first grade teams will start on December 4 with a full round of games.
"We'll go with one round of games, it will be nine games plus an extended semi-final series over four weeks with a top five or top six rather than last year's top four," Bercini said.
"We'll look to have everything finished two weeks before Easter. The Cessnock grand final will be played the week after the Coalfields Cup grand final.
"The Coalfields Cup will resume on January 22 and the lower grades will return on January 29.
"Clubs have until next Tuesday to finalise their teams based on what was discussed on Wednesday night and we'll do the draws around that."