NEW Bendigo District Cricket Association senior coach Shane Koop has laid the challenge down to the competition’s players.
“We need to get the best team possible we can to give ourselves the best chance of getting up to provincial group.”
Provincial group being the top division of competition at the time-honoured Melbourne Country Week cricket carnival.
For the second year running when the 2019 carnival hits off in February Bendigo will again be languishing in division two.
Given Bendigo won’t be participating in the top flight of competition, there is the possibility that going to Melbourne isn’t as appealing and a turn-off to prospective players from putting their hands up.
But it’s at a time like this when the competition needs a strong buy-in from its top players to get itself out of division two as quickly as possible and back up into provincial group where it wasn’t that long ago Bendigo made back-to-back grand finals, only to suffer a pair of narrow defeats.
That was 2016 against Geelong and 2015 against Safe-Maffa – a pair of seasons in which Bendigo’s only losses through those 10 provincial games were the two finals.
But a disastrous 2017 in which Bendigo didn’t win a game relegated the association to division two earlier this year, which it was unable to fight its way out of.
The challenge of getting its best team available for Melbourne Country Week is faced by every association and Bendigo will be no different in its squad process.
Unlike a one-off inter-league football game, playing Melbourne Country Week is a week-long commitment.
Chewing up a week of annual leave to play cricket isn’t for everyone, but for those who do, representing the BDCA at Melbourne Country Week is a rewarding experience.
New bonds and mateships are formed, it’s a chance to showcase your skills at the next level and who knows where than can lead to, with success the icing on the cake.
Hopefully, Koop gets the strong player support he is seeking as the first step in getting Bendigo back to where it belongs among the top echelon in Melbourne.
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