I should have shown more faith in Southern Smash

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
Email Cameron Newbold

When the Southern Smash T20 competition was announced, I was one of the biggest critics.

The timing in late December was not ideal from a spectator and player perspective given the Christmas and new year period has begun.

However, the main reason for my reluctance about this new Twenty20 tournament was the players who were going to take part.

A host of star players were bandied about and, adding to that, top-level country cricketers from major regional centres were all coming.

The main concern about that, with only four competing teams, was how few current Albany players were actually going to feature in this tournament.

Having star factor is great and the interest shown immediately in the inaugural season can’t be dismissed, but the brainchild of a few passionate Albany cricket-lovers to me meant local talent must be on show.

Four marquee players per team, grade cricketers and a host of WA Country XI representatives — where were the locals going to fit in?

In hindsight, I should have shown a little more faith in the event organisers.

Rules were developed, a draft night was organised, and a points system put in place.

It all sounds pretty serious for a new regional T20 competition.

What the Southern Smash has done in the very early stages has been terrific and paves the way for December 27 and 28 to be a fantastic two-day festival of the shortest form of cricket.

Four Albany captains were announced, all of whom were heavily involved in getting it off the ground, and from there, things grew quickly.

With 80 nominations for the draft and team squads of only 14, naturally players were going to miss out.

Rules about total points per team and the stipulation each team must pick two Albany players under the age of 19, one of which plays every game, have ensured there is a strong local flavour.

In total, 56 players will be a part of season No.1 and 25 of those currently play in the Albany and Districts Cricket Association.

Another 10 are Albany-bred players or have spent time playing in our association. They are figures I and many others could not see happening when news of the Southern Smash emerged.

The lure to land a couple of former Big Bash players or ex-State cricketers has not been successful, but the standard of cricket will no doubt still be quite high.

Most importantly, this competition can evolve each year and perhaps next year we may see a Travis Birt or Simon Mackin gracing the turf at North Road.

Kudos to those involved.

The concept is terrific and yes, the timing makes it tough, but we can still expect to see heathy crowds get along to see a premier regional T20 tournament.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails