Yass Yabbies withdraw from Stribley Shield to compete in Burns Cup

For the first time in a number of years, the Yass District Cricket Association will not field a team in the 2019/20 Stribley Shield.

Champions: The Yass Yabbies last won the Stribley Shield in 2017/18, and will try their hands at the Burns Cup this season. Photo: Yass District Cricket Association.

Champions: The Yass Yabbies last won the Stribley Shield in 2017/18, and will try their hands at the Burns Cup this season. Photo: Yass District Cricket Association.

Over the course of recent seasons, the Yass Yabbies have performed strongly in the competition, and won the 2017/18 edition, but association president Paul Barnes said that the decision to leave was made with an eye towards the future.

This year, Yass will instead take part in the Burns Cup, a competition which traditionally features teams from the Southern Highlands and the South Coast.

"[After our first year] in the ACT Southern Districts Zone, we've decided that our rep future is with those guys rather than with the Riverina," Barnes said.

"We were happy with the Stribley Shield, and obviously there's a bit of history there ... but it just made more sense to have a clean cut from there and compete against associations like Goulburn, Far South Coast, [and] Monaro for the Burns Cup."

Yass's absence leaves three teams remaining in the Stribley Shield: Goulburn, Cootamundra, and Wagga Wagga.

As the number of teams in the competition dwindles, the proposed format for the 2019/20 season will be amended to reflect the changes.

Yass is the latest in a number of associations to depart the Stribley Shield in recent seasons.

The 2018/19 season began with the exit Gundagai/Tumut, Young, and Temora teams, which reduced the competition to four associations.

While teams like the combined Gundagai and Tumut side and Temora had struggled for numbers, Young was a strong association and defeated Yass (the eventual champions) in the 2017/18 season.

The loss of powerful sides has left the future of the Stribley Shield unclear, but as long as associations such as Cootamundra, Wagga Wagga, and Goulburn remain, there is hope for the competition yet.

While Goulburn is new to the Stribley, both Cootamundra (18 titles since 1951/52) and Wagga (seven titles) have been a part of the competition as long as the Yabbies (nine titles) were.

Though Goulburn lost all three of its matches in 2018/19, it is set to field a much stronger lineup this season. So, while the shield will be truncated, by no means will the quality of cricket drop.

Fixtures for the Burns Cup are expected to be released in the near future.

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