THEY say a week is a long time in sport.
That’s certainly been true for Bendigo cricket in the past seven days.
For this cricket lover, it’s been brilliant to see how the idea of setting up a Premier Cricket club here has sparked such robust discussion.
Amid all the feedback, the main response from the cricket community has been that many people support the concept.
Some people think it can be done. Some don’t, and that’s fine.
But geez it's exciting to think about.
Premier Cricket club in Bendigo has support
It's heartening to know Premier Cricket is looking at expanding and will consider any proposals, if they are good for cricket and have enough support.
That includes interest from regional centres.
So, what's our next step?
First, we need to nut out how it would work.
The main problem picked out is that Bendigo couldn’t field four teams without ripping the heart out of the Bendigo District Cricket Association – and I agree.
Given the history of the local competition, it’s probably not a path that we want to go down.
But if Premier Cricket let Bendigo field only first and second XI teams - and that option wasn't ruled out - well, then it’s game on!
Yes, it would rob the BDCA of some top players.
But that's a short-term view and we need to look at promoting cricket in central Victoria, not simply protecting the status quo.
Instead, think of the benefits of bringing top-quality cricket to Bendigo, including better coaching, players and facilities. Let's not forget, either, that it would be a Bendigo-based club, with players from across the region.
Think of the benefits of bringing top-quality cricket to Bendigo
Each team might only field six or seven BDCA players, or less. Just like the Bendigo Gold, a Premier Cricket club would attract players to the region.
And there's no reason why we couldn't sign an overseas first-class player each summer to bolster the line-up and help develop players.
I would also like to see a second XI team of under-23 players to give the next generation a foothold between the BDCA and first grade Premier Cricket.
A Premier Cricket club would need turf training wickets, which would make Bendigo one of Victoria's few regional centres to boast such facilities.
Who knows what doors that could open. Maybe we'd get to host the Melbourne Renegades' Big Bash League warm-up games instead of Ballarat.
Ideally, those wickets would be on, next to, or very near the QEO, which would be the perfect home ground.
These are a few of my thoughts, and I know there's plenty of people out there with great ideas.
Soon, the BDCA, in conjunction with the Bendigo Advertiser, will survey the clubs and players to gather their thoughts.
Whatever happens, this discussion is good for cricket in central Victoria.
Watch this space.