Three new clubs have joined the Gisborne and District Cricket Association ranks, following a vote by the existing GDCA clubs at last week’s annual meeting.
Eynesbury, Trentham and Melton Centrals will all field sides in the GDCA this summer, as the association moves to 10-team grades for the 2017-18 season.
GDCA president Rob McIntyre said it was a simple choice for the current clubs.
“There was good support from all the existing clubs, so all three [new clubs] were voted into the competition,” he said.
“With the move to 10-team grades, these sides will give that extra layer of competition across the grades and make the association stronger.”
While the grades each club will fit into will be determined at another meeting in the coming weeks, it is expected Eynesbury will field its first XI in B grade and Trentham will play in C grade.
Melton Centrals will field two of their lower XIs in the association, with their top sides remaining in the Victorian Turf Cricket Association.
The addition of the extra clubs means a re-jigged GDCA competition structure allowing for more two-day cricket, which McIntyre said would help everyone in the long run.
“A club like Eynesbury, which will have four sides coming in and coming off a premiership, should be competitive in B grade,” McIntyre said.
“We mightn’t see a lift in the standard in the first couple of years, but having more two-day cricket will hopefully allow more juniors and younger players a better opportunity to make a contribution in their matches. I also think having more two-day cricket will attract better players to the competition.”
The move to 10-team grades means Rupertswood will avoid relegation from McIntyre Cup, while Lancefield will be promoted from B grade.
Last year’s B-grade runner up, Wallan, has been offered the final spot in the McIntyre Cup, with the association waiting to hear if the offer will be accepted.
Sunbury United will fill the vacancy if Wallan declines.
“Wallan are having a meeting this week to decide if they’ll take that spot,” McIntyre said.
“They’re just not sure yet if they have the personnel to come up and be sustainable.
“If Wallan don’t want to come up, and there’s no pressure on them to do that, then we’ll invite Sunbury United – and they’re quite keen if the opportunity presents itself.”
In addition to the new clubs and grade changes, the GDCA has endorsed the introduction of a send-off rule, which was recently added to the Laws of Cricket for local competitions.
“We’ve supported that change to give umpires some more power against bad behavior,” McIntyre said.
“And we’ll bring our one-day rules in line with other competitions with regards to fielding restrictions and the like, but aside from those two rules it’s business as usual this season.”