Premier Cricket push has Bendigo clubs' support

BENDIGO District Cricket Association clubs have thrown their support behind a plan to set up a Premier Cricket club in the city.

Eight of the 10 BDCA clubs responded to a survey sent out by the league and the Bendigo Advertiser, with each club willing to discuss the proposal further.

In principle support for the concept was strong.

However, the clubs now want to see greater detail about how the idea would become reality.

Some concerns included the player drain on the BDCA, competition for sponsorship dollars, where the club would be based and if it would mean a restructure of the Bendigo league.

The vast majority of players surveyed also supported the idea, which would aim to establish a pathway to Victoria’s elite cricket competition.

Golden Square, Huntly-North Epsom, Strathdale-Maristians and Strathfieldsaye took player surveys.

Square returned 58 per cent in favour of establishing a club.

Huntly had 62 per cent of its players back the idea.

Strathfieldsaye showed 87 per cent support, while Strathdale had 96 per cent of players in favour. 

Craig Howard, who is leading a sub-commitee exploring the proposal, was delighted with the response.

“It’s obviously terrific to get that support from the clubs and the majority of the playing groups as well, supporting it in principle,” Howard said.

“Now it’s just a matter of putting together a compelling business case that we can take to the VCA (Victorian Cricket Association) and hopefully push our case forward.”

Howard said last Friday night’s ACA Masters match at the QEO highlighted the talent coming through the ranks in Bendigo.

“We know we’ve got some good talent around, so providing a pathway for those young players is vital for their development and so Bendigo cricket doesn’t lose them to a Melbourne lifestyle,” he said.

“There’s guys that go down and when they stop playing district cricket we don’t get any benefit from them.”

The sub-committee will now organise a meeting with the City of Greater Bendigo for its next step.

What the clubs had to say: 

Bendigo: "Club has discussed and at present don’t have a lot of support for the concept but would be prepared to look at any business plan that highlights all positive and negative comments to make an informed decision."

Bendigo United: "We do support the notion of establishing a Premier Cricket club in Bendigo. We feel that although the depth and talent in the local competition may decrease in the short term, the overall benefits...are worthwhile."

Eaglehawk: No response.

Golden Square: "The club were divided in their responses but on a whole reasonably cautious. The opportunity to provide a better pathway into higher standard of cricket is an enticing one and should be at least explored."

Huntly-North Epsom: No response.

Kangaroo Flat: "In principal the KFCC supports the idea of establishing a Premier Cricket club in Bendigo and warrants a further investigation. Details of a business plan would need to be provided by the BDCA for consideration."

Sandhurst: "Sandhurst CC supports in principal the BDCA entering teams in the Premier Cricket competition, however, Sandhurst CC will not formalise support until we have seen the model/s proposed and business case."

Strathdale: "SMCC supports the idea in principle as we see it as a fantastic pathway for young local cricketers who have ambitions to play a higher standard. There are many issues to confront before it progresses further."

Strathfieldsaye: "Does Strathfieldsaye support the concept of exploring the option of having a team playing Premier Cricket? Yes."

White Hills: "White Hills would generally support the idea, but we like many clubs would have some reservations. These being:
- The concerns about competing for dollars.
- Would like to see only a single premier division team, which is fed from BDCA clubs, with players not selected moving back to their home club.
- Concern is also if BDCA clubs are required to support with administration."

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