STATE pride is on the line in Bendigo as the country's best young cricketers contest the School Sport Australia 12-and-under championships this week.
The carnival was launched on Friday night, when about 150 talented boys and girls marched on to the Queen Elizabeth Oval in their team uniforms for the opening ceremony.
They were welcomed by speakers including School Sport Australia CEO Brad Allen, School Sport Victoria president Rob Carroll and Cricket Australia representative John Watkin.
Bendigo South East Secondary College student Claire Synan sang the national anthem and Victoria's cricket captains - Fergus O'Neill, Annabel Sutherland and Tahleah Ticehurst - pledged fair play and fun on behalf of all participants.
The on-field action gets under way at 9am on Saturday, with the boys fighting it out for the Ricky Ponting Shield and the girls battling to claim the Grahame Barrett Shield.
Among those representing Victoria are Girton Grammar student Kate Douglass, Sam Ramsay from Gisborne Primary, Macey Brereton from Gunbower Primary and Imogen Barlow from Sacred Heart College in Kyneton.
Saturday's draw: Boys (50 overs per side): Vic v NT at White Hills; NSW v ACT at the QEO; and Qld v SA at Huntly. Girls (35 overs per side): SA v Vic at North Bendigo; NSW v Vic Invitation at Weeroona Oval; and Qld v ACT at Eaglehawk.
Sunday's draw: Boys (50 overs per side): SA v Vic at Tannery Lane; NSW v NT at Harry Trott; and Qld v ACT at Bell Oval. Girls (35 overs per side): Vic v Qld at Golden Square; NSW v ACT at the QEO; and SA v Vic Invitation at Kangaroo Flat.