Rematch to open league

REPLAY: Dubbo and Bathurst will meet in the opening round of this season's Western Zone Premier League after tying in the 2017-18 final.
REPLAY: Dubbo and Bathurst will meet in the opening round of this season's Western Zone Premier League after tying in the 2017-18 final.

They were crowned joint winners after tying in the 2017-18 decider.

Now the release of this season’s Western Zone Premier League’s draw reveals Dubbo and Bathurst will meet again in the opening round on October 14.

Dubbo’s skipper in that game, Mitch Bower, said “there’s no sour grapes”, and his side has moved on from last year’s bittersweet result.

“We’re all friends, no one’s got a hard grudge anywhere,” Bower said.

“We couldn’t win that game in the grand final, we played pretty badly and they played pretty good.

“But we’ll always try and win … a lot of the blokes, we’ve all played cricket together for a while now so it’s just another game.”

Following the grand final rematch the Dubbo side will be able to settle in at home, as they host Orange and Parkes in rounds two (November 18) and three (December 9).

The round two clash at Victoria Park’s No. 1 Oval will mark Orange’s first match-up of the season, as they enjoy the bye in round one.

It’s an unenviable trip for any side to make at the best of times, let alone in the first clash of the season when you’re coming off just one win the summer before.

Granted, the Bluebaggers took a number of several huge steps forward last summer; they’re one victory was over Parkes and broke an 11-year droughtagainst the powerhouse Lachlan Valley side.

The Daryl Kennewell-led Bluebaggers also went within inches of taking down Bathurst too, but were bested by a blistering Mick Curtale ton in their other game of the summer against Cowra.

With the bye in round four, Dubbo won’t need to travel again until they head to Cowra in February.

The competition kicks off on Sunday, October 14.

This summer Western Zone will also reintroduce a colts competition for the first time in 10 years.

An under-18 carnival will be held in Orange on November 24 and 25, with Bathurst, Orange, Dubbo and an invitational, Chairman’s XI to battle it out in the aim of assisting selections for Western’s Country Cricket NSW Colts Championship. Orange faces the Chairman’s XI in the Saturday game, with the Sunday match-ups to be decided based on other results.