A new-look Blasters squad will represent Newcastle at a new-look tournament-style Regional Bash in Maitland next weekend.
At least half-a-dozen different faces will make up this summer’s Twenty20 team, which was announced on Wednesday, including Toronto’s Adrian Chad, Charlestown’s Jed Dickson, Belmont’s Daniel Bailey, City’s Dylan Hunter and Cardiff’s Matt Willett.
Wallsend’s Nathan Price remains captain and is joined again by Hamwicks gloveman Ben Balcomb, Wests quick Tom Allen and Waratah-Mayfield all-rounder Jonty Durrheim.
But rather than one-off elimination fixtures this time around Newcastle will play three round-robin matches.
The Blasters, also bolstered by NSW Country all-rounder Joe Price, meet the Central Coast Rush at Lorn Park on October 14 before back-to-back clashes with the Illawarra Flames and hosts Hunter Hitmen at Robins Oval on the Sunday.
The overall winner progress to semi-finals at the SCG on December 10.
Newcastle, who have beaten the Hitmen in close encounters at Robins Oval the previous two seasons, fell one game short of the decider in 2016-2017.
The Hitmen are set to finalise their 15-man squad after training on Sunday with Newcastle-based players Josh Trappel (Hamwicks), Josh Geary (Merewether), Jacob Montgomery (Wallsend) and Liam McKechnie (University) all expected to feature.
Meanwhile, the main Newcastle Steel T20 side won’t be in action until the end of this month (October 29) when they take on Randwick-Petersham away in round one of the NSW Premier Cup. The Steel then host Eastern Suburbs and Manly-Warringah at No.1 Sportsground on November 19 before meeting Sutherland at Glenn McGrath Oval on December 3.
BLASTERS: Nathan Price (c), Joe Price, James Rushford, Adrian Chad, Jonty Durrheim, Jed Dickson, Andrew Sommerville, Ben Balcomb, Daniel Bailey, Dylan Hunter, Matt Willett, Tom Allen.
HITMEN: Matt Trappel (c), Josh Trappel, Josh Geary, Liam McKechnie, Jacob Montgomery, Lincoln Mills, Luke Stewart, Mitch Field, Cael Smith, Nick Bower, Anru Kriel, Jacob Page, Mitchell Pinch, Aaron Mahony, Tim Harding, Josh Tuckwell, Jacob Carey, Jarrod Moxey.
Saturday, 2pm – Hunter Hitmen v Illawarra Flames at Robins Oval; Newcastle Blasters v Central Coast Rush at Lorn Park.
Sunday, 9:30am – Illawarra Flames v Newcastle Blasters at Robins Oval; Hunter Hitmen v Central Coast Rush at Lorn Park.
Sunday, 1:30pm – Hunter Hitmen v Newcastle Blasters at Robins Oval; Central Coast Rush v Illawarra Flames at Lorn Park.