Some of Maitland and the Hunter's best young cricketers are taking their first major steps on the representative cricket ladder at Maitland Park this week.
The youngsters are representing the Hunter Valley against teams from across the northern half of country NSW at the Under-13 NSW Youth Championships Sixers Pool.
The competition, which is mirrored by under-14 and under-15 programs, is part of a revamp of representative cricket across the state.
Clarence Valley Council hosted the under-14 and under-15s last week, with Hunter finishing on top of the the under-14 competition with four wins from their five games and under-15s fifth with two wins.
There are two one day games to be played in both age groups.
NSW Cricket country coaching and talent manager Mark Cameron said the aim of the program was that regardless of where you live if you've got potential and you perform really well you will be noticed.
The three-days of competition at Maitland Park sees the Hunter play four Twenty20 games and a one-dayer against Newcastle on Thursday.
Other competing regions including Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Central Coast, Northern Inland, North Coast, Mid North Coast and Far North Coast.
Cameron said from the Sixers pool competition, two teams will be chosen to compete at the Under-13 State Challenge at Dubbo in January.
He said players from the Hunter Valley, Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Central Coast teams will be vying for a spot in the Greater Hunter team and the player from the other four teams can earn spots in the Northern NSW team.
"Having a carnival style format allows the teams which are up to 700km apart to play each other and then in the final two rounds they get to play their neigbours," he said.
The Hunter host Central Coast on Sunday, October 27 and travel to take on Lake Macquarie on Sunday, November 3.
The Hunter got off to a slow start losing their opening game against North Coast after posting 4/61 from their 20 overs before North Coast made 2/63 in reply. The Hunter boys lost early wickets but rallied to fall 15 runs short of Northern Inland.