Sea Dragons captain Andrew Harriott knows what it takes to win a T20 crown in Newcastle.
He also knows the defending champions have their work cut out in 2018-19 following the official Summer Bash draw on Wednesday.
The Sea Dragons will be up against fellow title contenders the Pumas, who the University boys beat in last season’s T20 decider. Both sides also meet in the Tom Locker Cup one-day final at No.1 Sportsground on Sunday.
In addition the Students face current top-eight sides the Kookaburras, Magpies and Tigers during the preliminary T20 rounds, which features 18 midweek fixtures between January 15 and 31.
“Big time it would be nice to back it up, but it won’t be easy,” Harriott said.
Tigers skipper Nathan Price agreed with the assessment of pool A, which is completed by the Sabres.
“Five out of the six teams [in pool A] would be pretty confident in doing well in the competition and pushing for the finals,” Price said.
Neither the Sea Dragons or Tigers have confirmed any marquee players, but both Harriott and Price have direct links in Sydney following recent lengthy stints with Northern Districts and Randwick Petersham respectively.
Harriott, who arrived in Newcastle at the start of this campaign, and Scott Rodgie were marquees for the Sea Dragons last summer. Price, in his second season back at Wallsend, had acted in a similar role for the Tigers previously.
Tym Crawford (Magpies), Mark Dries (Pumas), the Crosthwaite brothers, Adam and James (Kookaburras), and Ryan Van Kemenade (Sabres) were also utilised at various stages in 2017-18.
Pool B is headlined by the reigning minor-major premiers and Tom Locker Cup champions Wests.
“It would be nice [to add the T20 title to the collection], but our goal remains the two-day game so we will stay focused on that throughout,” Rosellas leader James King said.
The Rosellas are scheduled to take on last season’s one-day and two-day finalists the Lions as well as the much-improved Black Roses, Whips and winless pair Waratahs and Seagulls.
Black Roses captain Nick Watkins said Cardiff’s marquees were unconfirmed at this stage.
Double headers will be held across four venues on February 10.
The top two sides from each pool progress to Summer Bash semis and a potential decider at No.1 Sportsground the following Sunday.
The City of Newcastle are the major sponsor, which includes prize money.
POOL A: Kookaburras, Magpies, Sabres, Sea Dragons, Pumas, Tigers.
POOL B: Rosellas, Waratahs, Seagulls, Lions, Whips, Black Roses.
The Kookaburras and Tigers are due to open the T20 season at No.1 Sportsground on Tuesday, January 15.
Originally the new Pasterfield facility at Cameron Park was also going to be used for midweek matches, which start at 5pm, but an alternative venue has yet to be announced.
CITY OF NEWCASTLE SUMMER BASH – DRAW 2018-19
Tuesday, January 15 (5pm): Kookaburras v Tigers (No.1), Rosellas v Black Roses (TBA).
Wednesday, January 16: Waratahs v Lions, Magpies v Sea Dragons.
Thursday, January 17: Sabres v Pumas, Seagulls v Whips.
Tuesday, January 22: Lions v Black Roses, Sea Dragons v Tigers.
Wednesday, January 23: Magpies v Pumas, Waratahs v Whips.
Thursday, January 24: Rosellas v Seagulls, Kookaburras v Sabres.
Tuesday, January 29: Kookaburras v Magpies, Rosellas v Waratahs.
Wednesday, January 30: Whips v Black Roses, Pumas v Tigers.
Thursday, January 31: Sabres v Sea Dragons, Seagulls v Lions.
Sunday, February 10 (Ron Hill Oval): Kookaburras v Sea Dragons (9am), Sea Dragons v Pumas (12pm), Kookaburras v Pumas (3pm).
Sunday, February 10 (Kahibah Oval): Magpies v Sabres, Sabres v Tigers, Magpies v Tigers.
Sunday, February 10 (Harker Oval): Rosellas v Lions, Lions v Whips, Rosellas v Whips.
Sunday, February 10 (Waratah Oval): Waratahs v Seagulls, Seagulls v Black Roses, Waratahs v Black Roses.
Sunday, February 17 (No.1 Sportsground): Semi 1 (9am), Semi 2 (12pm), Final (3pm).