Gunnedah cricketers are poised to return to action this weekend with the resumption of Gunnedah and District grade cricket.

Following the competition’s six week hiatus – due to the Christmas and New Year holiday period – competition will resume this weekend in the same Twenty20 format that sees both round matches played on the same ground.

Although player numbers were lacking to start the season, leading into the break of the competition all four clubs Albion, Court House, Mornington and Kookaburras were able to consistently field a full complement of players per match.

Consistent numbers for all clubs became viable in part due to the restructure of the competition, with the Twenty20 only format receiving positivity and provides players a shorter format.

Due to a maximum of 20 overs per side per batting innings, this is influencing and exposing the attacking nature of the format through the players this season. It is also leading to tight finishes and exciting matches.

At the halfway point of competition, Albion – which is yet to taste defeat in season 2023/24 – are the competition leaders. Mornington have only tasted defeat to Albion and are nipping at the heels in second spot and also boast the competition’s leading run scorer in Justin Carter.

Court House and Kookaburras round out third and fourth spots on the ladder respectively. Both teams have defeated each other to register their only wins of the season to date.

All teams, however, remain viable for finals contention and the next six weeks before the semi finals will prove vital.

In an early outlook towards the finals, set to take place in March, Albion appears the favourite to claim the minor premiership and book the first spot in the season decider – minor premiers advance straight through to the grand final on March 16.

As evidenced last season though, Mornington was dynamic in the finals series and will be bullish about its chances again this season – having finished in second place last season. The side blitzed Court House in the semi final and proceeded to take that from into the grand final, dominating Albion in that match to claim season 2023/24 as reigning premiers.

Mornington look most likely to deliver a surprise on the minor premiership aspirations of Albion. But should Court House and Kookaburras endure an unbeaten run in the next six weeks, with other results falling their way, the side could shake the competition in what promises to be a fascinating conclusion to the season.

For the return to action this weekend, Albion take on Kookaburras in the first match of the round which is to be followed by the mid-table clash of Mornington and Court House.

Meanwhile, Gunnedah’s representative side is due to face competition heavyweights Narrabri at home in the MA Connolly Cup at Kitchener Oval.

In a 50-over match, Gunnedah needs to win all remaining matches that start with Narrabri this weekend and a potential catch up match against Moree that was washed out late last year.

Gunnedah enjoy the benefit of a forfeit from Armidale, which withdrew from the competition due to consistent match forfeits that in turn forfeited their right for competition points. Should results fall their way,

Gunnedah could sneak into the top two where it is likely that they would face either Tamworth, Narrabri or Gwydir the latter which defeated Gunnedah last start.

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