RISING FORTUNES: Ipswich Logan Hornets players celebrate a wicket during their Queensland Premier Grade match against Redlands this season.
RISING FORTUNES: Ipswich Logan Hornets players celebrate a wicket during their Queensland Premier Grade match against Redlands this season. Inga Williams

HOT ISSUE: Is too much cricket a problem?

AS our leading regional cricketers prepare for the Christmas break, it's timely to pose an important question.

Is there too many representative competitions for the number of country players involved?

The rise of the Ipswich Logan Hornets is terrific to see with the team of South East Queensland players starting to make an impact in the Queensland Premier grade competition.

It's been a long time coming and something Ipswich needed in cricket for the sport to remain in touch with other codes.

Ipswich-based rugby league, basketball, soccer and hockey teams have been proving more than competitive in state league competitions and Queensland championships for a number of years.

The Hornets, once the competition easybeats, have this season worked their way into third place in the two-day series.

However, before the Hornets were formed in 2012, Ipswich had various representative opportunities through competitions like the Webb Shield and Schaeffer Shield.

Those competitions and others remain this season, raising concerns about their value.

Add SEQ and South Queensland teams to the Queensland country cricket mix and it's pretty confusing keeping up with all the play going on.

As someone who loves and promotes Ipswich sport at every opportunity, I enjoy seeing regional cricketers achieve their higher level goals.

The Ipswich and West Moreton Cricket Association first division competition also is enjoyable to cover with so many personalities and proud locally-based players. This year's revamped one-day format including Toowoomba teams was a fresh approach.

However, when it comes to representative cricket, it seems there is a never-ending call for local players to make themselves available for other teams like the Schaeffer Shield and Webb Shield.

A Facebook discussion about the Webb Shield highlighted the plight.

Passionate coach Scott Barrett is concerned he will struggle to get the best players if a three-game Webb Shield format is required in February.

The views of Barrett, and other experienced regular coaches like Craig Jesberg, must be considered by country cricket decision-makers planning for the future.

Like international cricket with so much Test, one-day, T20 and Big Bash games going on, country scheduling seems to have got out of control.

There is only so many players to feed the demand.

Maybe it's time to reduce the number of South East Queensland country competitions and focus more on grassroots development or run fewer but better representative carnivals.

That way Ipswich's best cricketers can enjoy their local competition, try for the Hornets if they like and play for the Ipswich Pioneers when called upon less regularly.

That would also reduce a lot of family pressures, giving our top players a better chance of being available for select teams, rather than the current glut of representative demands.

What do you think?

Leave a comment on this QT website or email your views on representative country cricket scheduling to: qtsport@qt.com.au



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