A new Baywide Cup contender from Rotorua, a mid-week Twenty20 competition round with the final under lights at the Bay Oval and a straight seven round qualifying shootout for the Williams Cup playoffs headline the changes to the upcoming Baywide Premier cricket season.

Bay of Plenty Cricket Development Officer Scott Steward has been busy during the winter, meeting and consulting with the teams before the unveiling of the revamped 2019/20 format which includes Geyser City Cricket Club's return to Premier grade cricket after 28 years.

It all starts on October 5 with the Baywide Cup. The holders are Greerton and captain Shane Wineti said his side are eager to keep the trophy for another season.

"We've got all our lads back from last year, as well as a couple of new players, so hopefully we'll be there or thereabouts at the end."

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He said last year's Baywide Cup success came down to everyone in the team doing their part.

"We just had a lot of players contribute with bat and ball. A lot of us have been playing together for a long time now so we're a pretty experienced team."

Cadets' Marcel Collett bowls during last season's Williams Cup final against Central Indians. Photo / File
Cadets' Marcel Collett bowls during last season's Williams Cup final against Central Indians. Photo / File

He was happy with the changes Bay of Plenty Cricket had made this season.

"I think playing a Twenty20 final under lights at the Bay Oval is pretty special for any club cricketer. We can't get mad at Bay of Plenty Cricket for any of the changes because it's all positive I think.

"We're definitely excited to get started. Having another Rotorua team in there is great, I think having two teams in Rotorua will help them grow their players and it's a good platform for the younger kids, which is important."

During the off-season, Geyser City Sports Club applied to enter a team in the Baywide premier grade for the 2019/20 season.

The application, supported by strong organisational and governance templates and a robust club player development pathway, was accepted on a trial basis.

Club president Kane Vanner said the move was "a hugely significant step for the club".

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"The club has been around 28 years and it's the first time we've entered that grade so it's a huge achievement. At the same time, it's all part of the master plan to improve the pathways for cricketers in Rotorua.

Geyser Cricket Club president Kane Vanner (left) and premier team captain Dan Fisher. Photo / Ben Fraser
Geyser Cricket Club president Kane Vanner (left) and premier team captain Dan Fisher. Photo / Ben Fraser

"We're under no illusions; it's a big challenge and we have to prove ourselves to stay there. We're hugely excited about the opportunity. Essentially we have to show that we compete and they've given us the Baywide Cup to do that."

After the Baywide Cup, attention turns to the Baywide T20 and the Williams Cup competitions, with a white ball in play instead of the more traditional red of the Baywide Cup.

A revamped Twenty20 title race will include two innovations. For the first time there will be a twilight midweek qualifying round on Wednesday, January 15. The semifinals and final will be fought out at the Bay Oval at Mount Maunganui on Saturday, January 19, with the title decider played under lights.

The Williams Cup, which is considered the biggest prize in Baywide Premier cricket and dates back to the 1930s, kicks opens on February 1 with the final to be played on the last day of the season - Saturday, March 28.

Baywide Cricket key dates 2019-20

Baywide Cup

October 5: Round one

December 7: Cup and Plate finals

Baywide Twenty20
December 14: Rounds one and two
January 15: Midweek round
January 19: Semifinals and final under lights at Bay Oval

Williams Cup
February 1: Round one
March 28: Final at Bay Oval