Newcastle District Cricket Association's premier competition may start slightly later than usual this season but the summer sport could be played in the region as early as next month.
First grade, and the lower three grades, are scheduled to begin on November 6, however, other NDCA competitions such as suburban districts (one-day), women's, masters (T20) and the newly introduced S.G Moore Cup (under 16s) are slated from mid-October.
NDCA and Cricket NSW both released prospective return-to-play dates ahead of the state government's announcement on Monday that community sport would be allowed at 80 percent COVID vaccinations.
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That double-dose target is expected to be reached in late October with freedoms largely reserved for those, eligible individuals, who have had both jabs.
There has been no policy confirmed by the sporting body in relation to coronavirus vaccinations and participating in 2021-22, but Cricket NSW are "following the clear advice of the health authorities and that of the NSW Government, which is that anyone who is eligible for vaccination should get vaccinated without delay".
NDCA chairman Paul Marjoribanks said the draws were "still a draft and subject to change, but we wanted to give clubs an indication of how we are placed".
"I'd heard some people saying we won't play until after Christmas, but that's not the case and we wanted people out of hibernation."
Matches cancelled because of the global pandemic would be called draws until play gets underway.
"That draw [grade] was already mapped out with a mixture of one-dayers and two-dayers from November 6," Marjoribanks said.
"Eleven rounds means all clubs play against each other once throughout the course of the season, which was the key element. This now seems quite achievable.
"The other competitions are one-dayers and T20s so it's a bit easier to manage if games don't go ahead straight away and play doesn't kick in until round three or four."
First to fourth grades are aiming for five one-day fixtures, predominately as per normal, and a reduced six two-day encounters followed by a finals series. Games were initially supposed to get underway next weekend (October 9).
Organisers are hopeful of playing Tom Locker (first XI) and Royce McCormack (second XI) deciders at the end of one-day competitions.
The women's T20 league, approaching its third campaign, may expand again with early indications of more clubs fielding teams. Nominations close next week.
NDCA have also introduced a stand-alone under-16 tournament, aligning with Sydney's Green Shield and named after long-standing Merewether captain Simon Moore.
Cricket NSW released a statement on Friday saying to prepare for training from October 11 and games from October 16, however, this will be subject to public health orders.
Newcastle and most of the Hunter have been under stay-at-home orders since the start of August while other parts of the state recently came out of lockdown.
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