Dubbo District Cricket Association (DDCA) president Ben Semmler is hopeful the ongoing threat of COVID doesn't ruin what shapes as an action-packed second half of the season.
The DDCA competitions return from their Christmas and New Year's from Friday night, where RSL-Colts and Newtown meet in a MoneyQuest Megahit match, while Dubbo's Western Zone Premier League side will play at Parkes on Sunday.
It's set to be the first of a number of busy weekends for players in the region, with a host of representative matches and carnivals on the horizon.
However, COVID is again looming large, with another 809 new cases reported in the Western NSW Local Health District (LHD) up to 8pm on Tuesday.
Of those, a new record high of 249 were in the Dubbo local government area and while it's still business as normal for the DDCA, Semmler expects all clubs to be impacted in the coming weeks.
"At this stage nothing has changed but I expect there will be some disruptions for some teams," Semmler said.
"You'd be naive to think there won't be the odd player who has to sit out.
"Before the season I don't think I knew anyone with COVID but now probably everyone could name a half-a-dozen people who have it."
The decision to make all DDCA competitions for this season one-day matches has made life easier for the board and clubs.
If two-day matches had been played, as has been the case in the past, teams could have had players unavailable for one day of play should they need to isolate for the required seven-day period.
"If people are out then players will have to filter up (through the grades) and if we have to have a couple of forfeits in third grade then that's what will happen," Semmler said.
"But you just don't know how much it will affect things.
"We're just managing it the way authorities expect us to and players just have to be vigilant and do the right thing."
It's very even and I'm expecting the next couple of rounds will be crucial.Ben Semmler on RSL-Whitney Cup
While no thought has been given to potentially suspending any sport at the moment the COVID numbers are an unwanted distraction given how the rest of the cricket season shapes up.
Semmler feels the RSL-Whitney Cup first grade competition is one of the most even in some time with Macquarie, CYMS, Newtown, RSL-Colts and Rugby all battling for the three finals spots while more WZPL representative matches are ahead and the men's senior Western Zone side will also be taking part in the Country Championships in early February.
A host of Dubbo players have also been in action at various junior representative carnival during these school holidays.
"It's very exciting," Semmler said of the RSL-Whitney Cup.
"CYMS and Macquarie have played some great cricket and all clubs have put in some good performances but also some they could improve on.
"It's very even and I'm expecting the next couple of rounds will be crucial."
The first grade competition resumes with a round of Twenty20 fixtures on Saturday while 40-over contests remain in second and third grade.
Semmler added another boost for the competition was the recent completion of the new amenities block at the Pavans ground.
All matches start at 1pm on Saturday.
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