An expanding women's game is part of a changed Country Cricket NSW representative calendar for this summer.
Men's and women's senior and junior carnivals have all been altered for 2021/22 and it could lead to one of the biggest summers the bush has had.
Some scheduling changes, namely the NSW Country Championships being shifted to post-Christmas, is due to the challenges posed by COVID while others have been made to ensure the best possible standard of play possible.
That's the case for a number of the women's competitions.
The women's Regional Bash, which includes the newly named Western Plains Outlaws (formerly Orana) and Central West Wranglers, will be a round robin format rather than knockout for the first time to ensure more matches, while the under 19s championship has been extended a day to allow for one 50-over match on top of the regular Twenty20s.
That will help regions like Western Zone continue to develop players who can follow in the footsteps of Orange's Phoebe Litchfield, Dubbo's Emma Hughes, and Lisa Griffith of Bathurst, who are all playing for different Women's Big Bash League sides at the moment.
"The game continues to grow for the girls," Cricket NSW's Country Programs Manager, Bruce Whitehouse, said.
"The women's Regional Bash has been expanded and in Premier Cricket in Sydney a new club, Manly, has joined the competition.
"That aspect of the game continues to grow and I can't see why the success of young women, who are country cricketers, won't continue.
"If you look at the amount of women's country cricketers who are performing around the country in Big Bash franchises, it's a fantastic achievement and another sign of the factory of players in NSW country."
The men's Country Championships, in which Western Zone has a proud record in the past decade, has been pushed later in the season due to uncertainty around the Australian Country Championships.
The national tournament is usually held in early January but a decision on whether or not it can be played later in 2022 will be made in December.
The NSW country titles are usually early in the season during November but having them in late January for the northern pool sides and February for the southern pool, which will feature Western Zone, will also help ensure players have had all the time to discover their best form.
For Western, the first rounds of the Western Zone carnival will have been played by the time the carnival arrives.
"It's exciting, the prospect of playing things at a slightly different time of year. It could be a sign of things to come," Whitehouse said.
"It really gives guys the chance to get in some kind of good knick and be ready to play."
The men's Regional Bash has also reverted back to the round robin format this season.
The Outlaws will play in Thunder Pool 1 and start their campaign against the Wranglers at Orange's Wade Park on Saturday, December 11 before they are on the road on Sunday to play the Illawarra Flame.
The winner of each pool in the men's and women's competition advances to the finals day.
That is scheduled to be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground but a date is yet to be locked in given the ongoing uncertainty around the Sheffield Shield draw due to border restrictions and COVID case numbers around the country.
Both the Outlaws men and women played at the SCG last summer but were beaten in their respective semi-finals.
The Bradman Cup under 16s carnival has also been adjusted and for the first time each of the state's eight zones will play each other.
While the state has previously been split into two pools, this season rounds one and two will be played at Wagga in December before the final four rounds are hosted by Lake Macquarie in January.
The country colts carnival will be played at Bathurst in January.
2021/22 REPRESENTATIVE SCHEDULE
- MEN'S COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIP: Northern pool: January 28-30 at Central Coast; southern pool: February 4-6 at Shoalhaven; final February 13 at Bowral's Bradman Oval.
- COUNTRY COLTS: January 10-13 at Bathurst
- WOMEN'S UNDER 19s: January 5-7 at Raymond Terrace.
- WOMEN'S UNDER 16Ss: January 20-21 at Raymond Terrace
- BRADMAN CUP: Rounds 1-3: December 4-5 at Wagga; rounds 4-7: January 4-7 at Lake Macquarie.