BOLTON ASSOCIATION: New knockout competition gets underway
A DOZEN clubs begin their campaigns to be the first winners of a new cup tomorrow.
The 40/40 Sunday competition has been introduced to give teams the chance to play more games after the league programme was cut from 26 to 22 matches this season.
Six clubs opted out of playing the inaugural season of the cup to give their players a rest.
The 12 who have entered will play in two groups of six-over five Sundays with the winners of each group playing in the final on September 14.
Group A consists of Association new boys Winton and Swinton Moorside along with Blackrod, Edgworth, Atherton and Little Hulton.
Group B features Astley and Tyldesley, Walshaw, Darcy Lever, Flixton, Elton and another new team this season, Worsley.
Every team plays the other five in their group, beginning tomorrow, and ending on September 7 with June 15, August 24 and August 31 the other dates scheduled.
The rules will mainly be the same as for league games with the chief differences being a free hit for a front foot no ball and no bowler able to bowl more than eight overs, which means at least five bowlers will be required.
Five points will be awarded for a win and three for a tie.
Association chairman Frank Jackson explained the idea behind the new competition.
“Our aim this season and next is to get all league cricket played on the 22 Saturdays, which does away with the double headers,” he said.
“A lot of the clubs say they like Sunday cricket because it helps with their revenue, so we decided to organise a voluntary 40/40 competition.
“You only have to put one team out.
“Twelve said they are happy to enter. We did a conventional draw and finished with two groups of six.
“With five group games, some teams will play three games at home and two away and some will play two at home and three away.
“The final will be played on a ground whose team has played three away.
“If two teams reach the final who have played the same number of away games they will toss a coin for home advantage.”