A brand new player points system has been unveiled in the Ballarat Cricket Association.
Following a model used in local football during recent years, the BCA will run a trial throughout the upcoming season before full implementation in 2020-21.
All BCA first grade teams will be forced to follow the system, which gives cricketers a rating between 2-10 based on their playing history. For instance, someone that played first class cricket during the previous two seasons would carry a maximum rating of 10, while one who had not played first grade with another BCA club or was a junior product of that club would be a minimum two-pointer.
Someone that had played more than 20 first grade games in the Victorian Premier Cricket competition during the previous two seasons or was an overseas contracted player would be worth nine in their first year in the BCA.
Discounts can be applied to reward loyalty, with a one-point deduction applicable for each season of prior service to the one club.
The initial points cap - which only applies to the BCA first grade competition - has been set at 40 per team of 11.
SEE HOW THE SYSTEM WILL WORK BELOW
An email document sent by the BCA to clubs outlined that the desire to build a player points system came from a 2015 strategic planning consultation. It has been established to "even the playing field at the top level to create a highly competitive and sustainable competition".
"Competition equalisation is standard practice in many other sports, at both local and international levels, to ensure competitiveness and sustainability. The BCA is a strong competition, and the intent is to keep improving," the email said.
"We don't want our clubs and association to follow the paths of other codes when club loyalty and development are compromised for financial incentive and/or gain.
"We acknowledge that this system will not stop player payments and is not intended to, the sole purpose is to create a fairer and level playing field for all clubs to succeed and prosper."
The BCA system has been adapted from a model used in the Geelong CA.
Mt Clear star and multiple EJ Cleary Medal winner Nathan Yates backed the introduction of the new points system.
"I think the idea is good for the future of clubs and puts it on the clubs to look after their junior programs to develop and grow the club from within," Yates told The Courier.
"There is still enough room in the cap to go and get one or two high-profile recruits and the longer you keep them at your club the better it is.
"It stops people just going for one year and then moving on."
The system that will run through 2019-20 will operate without penalties, but they will be introduced the following season.
The upcoming campaign is scheduled to kick off on Saturday, October 5 with one-day fixtures across the competition.
East Ballarat is the reigning premiers after beating North Ballarat in last season's four-day grand final at the Eastern Oval.
The Hawks are booked to take on Darley in round one, while the Roosters will meet Napoleons-Sebastopol.
The Lions have been one of the big movers during the off-season, signing a number of exciting recruits.