Celtic’s dominance of the South Canterbury Twenty20 cricket competition will be tested by a new format and the inclusion of Timaru Boys’ High School when it begins tonight.
The eight-team competition, which includes the six senior sides plus Timaru Boys High and Cavaliers, have been split into two pools of four.
Each team will play every other team in its pool before the winner of each pool plays the runner-up of the other pool in the semifinals to decide the two teams to play a final on Waitangi Day.
The pool containing Celtic, Star, Temuka and Roncalli/Celtic looks to be the tougher.
Celtic have won every senior T20 title in the competition’s brief three-year history.
Temuka would back themselves to test the defending champions if their batting fires, while Star seem to be improving and Roncalli/Celtic will need a lot of luck to push for a semifinal spot.
Waimate and Timaru will back themselves to get through in the second pool.
The Cavaliers will probably have promising names from the past turn out for them and, much like their debut season last year, are always a threat of upsetting the form guide.
TBHS have talented players such as South Canterbury representatives Mike Otley and wicketkeeper batsman Michael Hogan.
It will be interesting to see if the schoolboys can foot it with the adult players on their steady diet of schoolboy first XI and second XI cricket they play in Christchurch.
Celtic host Star at Celtic Sports Grounds, while Temuka will play Roncalli/Celtic at Aorangi Oval.
TBHS will welcome the Cavaliers to The Rectory, while Timaru will travel to Knottingley Park to face Waimate.
All matches start at 5.30pm.