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PETER Scullie says he will continue to take a keen interest in the Upper Loddon Cricket Association having handed over the reins as president after 30 consecutive seasons.
Scullie had held the president position of the ULCA since 1989, but when the season hits off on Saturday it will be Sam Harrison in the hot seat.
"I'm still very passionate about cricket and I suppose the length of time I had the position was because no-one wanted to take it over,'' Scullie said this week.
"Looking back over the 30 years, I'm really proud that Upper Loddon has survived. A lot of country cricket associations are in demise and we've certainly faced our challenges.
"During the '80s before I was president we at one stage had 14 teams... Wedderburn had two sides, Bridgewater had two sides, so that's how strong we were."
One of the clubs no longer around in the ULCA is Scullie's former team Woodstock, which folded in 2008.
"I'm disappointed that Woodstock is gone because I never thought they would fold while I was there, but we lost our juniors in 2005 and then with no-one coming through and everyone getting on the wrong side of 40 - some of us on the wrong side of 50 - the writing was on the wall," said Scullie, who also represented the ULCA in 100 games at Bendigo Country Week.
This season features eight senior teams competing - reigning premier Arnold, Boort-Yando, Bridgewater, Inglewood, Kingower, Newbridge, Serpentine and Wedderburn.
The structure of this season's competition has changed, with it to be played solely as a one-day format.
And that includes the grand final, with the ULCA moving away from what was one of its niches - the two innings, three-day flag battle.
"That's a bit disappointing because we were one of the few associations that still played for an outright win in the grand final. You could be behind on first innings and still pull out a victory, but you've got to listen to the players,'' Scullie said.
Now 63, Scullie, who continues to play the game with Vic Country in the Victorian Veterans Sunday Cricket Competition, has spent almost half his life as the ULCA president.
"I tried to get rid of it a few times, but never could... maybe there should be something in the constitution that says you shouldn't go for more than five years," Scullie said.
"I was happy to keep doing it, but it's good to see someone young like Sam put his hand up and have a go."
While Scullie has relinquished his role with the ULCA, another of the league stalwarts in Mick Rose is once again embarking on a 31st straight season as secretary.
"Mick is very passionate about Kingower and our junior competition and has done a great job for the association," Scullie said.
SATURDAY'S ROUND 1 GAMES:
Bridgewater v Serpentine
Inglewood v Kingower
Boort-Yando v Wedderburn
Arnold v Newbridge
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