Darley has been dealt a massive blow ahead of the Ballarat Cricket Association finals, with star all-rounder Danza Hyatt to miss finals.
Hyatt, who has been the standout player in the competition this season, averaging 80 with the bat, has been called up to international duties.
Darley coach Brian Wheelahan said that Hyatt had been selected in the West Indian team to play in the ICC Masters over 35 World Cup.
The West Indian team is set to be captained by Brian Lara, while a number of other countries including Australia are set to field strong sides.
Wheelahan said Hyatt, who has represented the West Indians before, had mixed feelings about it.
“He’s a bit shattered as he loves the club and we’ve embraced him and he’s embraced us,” he said.
“The boys have got around him, as he was a bit indifferent about how they would take it.
“He’s the best player in the competition and it’s a feather in his cap. He deserves everything that comes his way.
“It’s a pretty serious thing.”
Hyatt might play one more game before heading away.
Wheelahan said the loss of Hyatt was a devastating blow to their finals hopes and that you couldn’t replace someone like him.
He said they had prided themselves on their depth this season and it would give an opportunity for someone to step up.
“We will miss him for finals, so the challenge is in front of us,” he said.
“We have to step up and we’re confident that everyone can improve.”
Wheelahan said they were confident that they hadn’t seen the last of Hyatt with contract discussions for next season extremely positive.
Hyatt’s strong form was again on show on Saturday as the Lions got the points in the top of the table battle with Mt Clear.
The Lions made 7-261 off their 50 overs, with Hyatt top scoring with 59.
Wheelahan said the most pleasing thing was there were contributions throughout the innings and there were no collapses in the innings.
The Lions then bowled Mt Clear out for 242.
Madushanka Ekanayaka and Hasitha Wickramasinghe bowled really well, while Mitch Ward was everywhere.
“It’s his fourth game of the year,” Wheelahan said of Ward.
“He made a couple of run outs and took a blinder of catch. He also took a couple of wickets.”
With two rounds remaining, the Lions sit 18 points clear on top of the ladder.