The Bendigo District Cricket Association returns to the elite Provincial division at Melbourne Country Week for the first time since 2017.
After winning the division two premiership in 2019, the BDCA is ready to show it's a worthy participant in the premier section.
The BDCA will this week take on Mornington-Peninsula, Ferntree Gully and Traralgon in Provincial White. Sale-Maffra, West Gippsland, Ballarat and Geelong are in Provincial Blue.
The top two teams in each pool after three rounds qualify for Thursday's semi-finals, while the remaining teams do battle to avoid relegation.
Five changes were made to the BDCA squad which was successful last year.
Mitch Winter-Irving, Jake Klemm, Ash Gray, Andrew Chalkley and Russell Stockdale have been replaced by Ben Birkhead, Sam Johnston, Savith Priyan, Grant Waldron and Kyle Humphrys.
"The playing group are ready for the challenges of Provincial level, there is a real sense of care within the group and an awareness that representing the BDCA is important to us," BDCA coach Shane Koop said.
"We're keen to showcase the high standard of BDCA cricket and display that our association is a strong regional competition.
"We're looking forward to positively representing the association, we're also aware of the responsibility we have to represent the clubs, volunteers and the community in general.
"The program has evolved this season with extra connection points within our schedule and we have collectively developed a blueprint document to keep us focused during the campaign."
Golden Square all-rounder Scott Trollope (ankle) and in-form Strathfieldsaye spinner Savith Priyan (hand) were injured in club matches last weekend, but have been cleared to play in Melbourne.
Trollope was instrumental in the BDCA's success last year.
"All players are fit and well and ready to execute their roles,'' Koop said.
"Our main aim is winning the Provincial group trophy, but just as important for me as coach, it's about ensuring the players have an enjoyable cricket experience, one where the players can take back learnings, friendships and help drive standards at their clubs."
BDCA squad for Melbourne Country Week:
Ben DeAraugo (c), Ryan Hartley (vc), Liam Smith (vc), Ben Birkhead, Rhys Irwin, Jack Neylon, Sam Johnston, Savith Priyan, Scott Trollope, Adam Burns, Dylan Klemm, Kyle Humphrys, Grant Waldron.
BDCA schedule for Melbourne Country Week:
Monday: v Traralgon at Melbourne University
Tuesday: v Mornington-Peninsula at Kew
Wednesday: v Ferntree Gully at Balwyn
Thursday: semi-finals - venues TBA
Friday: grand final at The Albert Ground
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