The return of Wanganui Collegiate to the Whanganui club cricket competition and the prospect of several overseas players are exciting developments ahead of the new season.

Cricket Wanganui have finalised the draw and format of this summer’s club cricket. The season will begin with the five team long form competition, starting on October 8.

Cricket Wanganui’s Dilan Raj said the reason for starting with long form cricket is to help the representative players prepare for the Hawke Cup season.

Active Physio Wanganui’s Chapple Cup one-day campaign begins on October 14 but the side will have two warm-up games before hand. Hawke Cup begins in mid-November.

Two weekends of national club qualifiers will be held in December before the club sides, minus Wanganui Collegiate, begin the Coastal Challenge Cup one-day competition against four Horowhenua-Kapiti club sides.

Raj said overseas player Greg Smith will be returning for United while the other clubs were hopeful of securing an import.

He said having such players was valuable to the competition.

“It increases the standard but, for me, it’s more important that we’ve got people that can run training. Having players like that, they want to get a certain outcome out of the practice.”

Raj said some players had already started preparing for the season.

“I think the Coastal Challenge Cup has sort of rejuvenated cricket in Whanganui a bit.”

The Premier 2 competition also starts on October 8 with the same 40-over format.