Massive cricket boost: Region joins Brisbane Premier League
AFTER whispers about something huge happening in regional cricket, a new force is hitting top gear.
That comes in the form of a Western Power franchise that will represent Ipswich and the western corridor in the new Brisbane Premier League T20 competition being launched in August.
Amateur senior and junior players will don the Western Power strip, becoming involved in a four-week innovative series staged around south east Queensland.
Western Power CEO/managing director Andrew Catton is among the backers eager to see the western corridor's best young talent share in the Indian Premier League style format.
The Queensland concept has been initiated by cricketing great Ian Healy and world renowned commentator Mark Nicholas.
"We don't want to be left behind in our area,'' Catton said.
However, time is running out to register at BrisbanePremierLeague.com.au
Senior registrations close on April 1 leading up to a player auction on April 16.
Juniors need to express their interest in participating by May 1.
Junior boys are invited to play in the under 12, U13, U15, U17 and U19 competitions.
An under-19 girls series is also being planned.
All cricketers who nominate are eligible to join the draft list where 14 players are needed for each junior side.
"We want to have the best western corridor-based talent we can,'' Catton said.
"We have a massive pool of talent.''
Check out these handy Western Power links:
Players will go into a draft with each franchise having $3 million in monopoly style money to purchase players.
Every player starts on $10,000. Franchises have 15 seconds to make a selection before moving onto the next player.
The junior draft is on May 8/9.
The senior draft will be streamed live from the Gabba on April 16.
With the draft effectively being an open slather format, Catton urged regional players to get involved as soon as possible.
"As far as it goes with the auction and the draft, it's a level playing field,'' Catton said.
The CEO is being supported by experienced cricket coaches like Simon Emmerson, who helped guide this season's Ipswich Hornets Lord Taverners under-16 side to a historic grand final victory.
"Any local senior players interested (are welcome) and we'd encourage all local senior players,'' said Emmerson, who has taken on a business operations manager role in the new franchise.
"Because the way the auction works, you're not all going to just be buying Harry Woods (top Ipswich Hornets batsman Harry Wood). We need to be able to buy people that we know are local that can fill a gap at the right price.''
Catton said Western Power were especially keen to reward under 19s with promising futures.
Key figures involved in the Western Power syndicate have extensive SEQ cricket knowledge.
Junior development officer/manager Kieran Daymon is working closely with the franchise backers.
The ownership group includes Ipswich-based duo Emmerson and Ben McAteer (chairman), along with broadcaster Ben Dobbin (director) and businessman Chris Liebke (director).
Sponsors and a major franchise backer are soon to be revealed, supporting the ownership group.
Catton was delighted to see "people with the best interest of Ipswich'' getting involved.
Western Power is one of eight franchises nominated for first BPL T20 competition.
"We were a little bit behind the eightball at the start but I feel like we've caught up really quickly, just based on our knowledge of the junior landscape,'' Catton said.
Catton said the exciting series is a chance to grow T20 cricket in the western corridor.
"It's just a greater profile to T20 cricket and provide another opportunity for boys and girls in a format that's alternate to the one that are probably most exposed to, which is one-day cricket,'' he said.
"The plan for ACI (Australian Cricket Institute) - the company that run it - is they want to make it a national competition. They want to make it a feeder into the Big Bash.''
Importantly, the competition is being staged over five rounds (four Sundays and one Saturday) in August, leading into traditional summer cricket competitions.
"We don't want to detract from premier cricket or any club cricket at all. We want to complement it,'' Catton said.
"The same with junior rep. We don't want to get in the way of that.
"We just want to provide another opportunity, pathway for players.''
The focus will be on attracting talented school and club cricketers.
Some matches are expected to be played at the Ivor Marsden Sporting Complex.
Games will be livestreamed.
The other independent franchises are from the Darling Downs, Sunshine Coast, Redcliffe, North Brisbane, Bayside, Gold Coast and South Brisbane.