|Restrictions permitting, the 2021/22 cricket season is set to commence across the Wimmera in early November.
The Horsham Cricket Association has released their fixture covering three senior grades and underage competitions for Under 16.5, Under 14, and Under 12, with a scheduled start date of Saturday 6 November for all but the Under 14s who will play on Friday evenings.
After only fielding one senior team last season, the Blackheath-Dimboola Bulls will have teams in both the B and C grades this season, and the West Wimmera Warriors will play in the A and C grades. Both clubs will also have Under 14 and Under 12 teams.
If all goes according to plan, the Bulls’ B grade team will host Rupanyup-Minyip at the Recreation Reserve, and the C grade team will travel to Coughlin Park in Horsham to take on Horsham Saints.
The A grade Warriors will be at home to Rupanyup-Minyip, and their C grade team will venture to Noradjuha Recreation Reserve to play the Bullants.
All three senior grades will play a mix of limited-over one-day and Twenty20 matches, with the top two from the T20 games in each playing off for the title on a big triple-header grand final day on the Horsham City Oval on 20 February 2022.
Semi-finals in all grades in the one-day format will be played on 12 March, and grand finals will take place a week later, on 19 March. The best-of-three grand finals series trialled last season has been replaced with the traditional single winner-takes-all grand final.
The A grade competition will see five teams battle over fifteen preliminary rounds, with the Warriors looking to go one better after finishing as runners-up last season.
The eight B grade teams will also play fifteen rounds and after qualifying for a semi-final last season only to have it abandoned due to rain, the Bulls will be eager to improve on that result by March next year.
Nine teams will be vying for the two C grade titles over thirteen rounds, with the Warriors out to defend the one-day title they won earlier this year.
There is every expectation that the Blackheath-Dimboola revived C grade team will be competitive.
Local enthusiasts will have to wait until round nine in early February for the Hindmarsh Derby when the Bulls take on the Warriors on the turf at Dimboola, and it will also be into the new year before the Warriors meet Quantong, the team they defeated in the best-of-three grand final series.
The Under 14 competition will be played on Friday evenings and will involve eleven teams. The season opens on Friday, 5 November, for Blackheath-Dimboola against Homers Red on the Sunnyside ground, and the West Wimmera Warriors will meet Horsham Saints Red on Coughlin Park.
The Bulls and the Warriors are scheduled to meet twice during the regular season, in round three on 19 November and again in the final round on 4 March, with both games on Davis Park in Nhill.
Under 12 games will be played on Saturday mornings with nine teams from across the region. Also starting on the first weekend in November, the Bulls will host Horsham Saints on the Howland Oval, and the Warriors will travel to the Holy Trinity College oval in Horsham to take on Homers.
At the time of writing, the Wimmera Mallee Cricket Association had not yet released their fixture for the upcoming season.