Sunbury Cricket Club is moving its top sides to the Victorian Turf Cricket Association.
The Roar, which has had all its sides in the Gisborne and District Cricket Association, will move its top two sides to the VTCA – and its turf wickets – from the 2019-20 season.
The rest of the teams, senior and junior, will remain in the GDCA.
Roar president Brendan Doyle said the move was the best thing for the club and was something that had been looked at in previous years.
“Over the past two and half seasons, the Sunbury Cricket Club has been a little concerned about the direction the GDCA’s McIntyre Cup is going,” Doyle said.
“Last year a number of teams withdrew, which made the division compromised.
“It’s a competitive town and it’s getting harder and harder to try and recruit players to be competitive in the GDCA. This is exciting … we believe this is something that will ensure
the longevity of the club, which is 150 years old.”
The move will give the Roar a point of difference within Sunbury, with the town’s other four clubs all in the GDCA.
Doyle said one of the main reasons for the move was player retention.
“We have a strong junior division, but even at the age of 15 they are talking about moving as they want to play on turf wickets,” he said. “We’re going to continue to bring through the youth and they will now get the experience on turf.
“At the end of the day, this is beneficial for Sunbury and the Sunbury community, which has needed this for some time.”
Sunbury is in talks with Hume council about getting a turf wicket installed at Clarke Oval.
Until that happens, the Roar will play home matches at Coolaroo’s Progress Reserve, for which Hume council is in the process of putting together a redevelopment plan. Progress Reserve has four turf wickets.
Doyle said the VTCA had been very supportive of the club’s efforts to switch associations.
Despite his club moving its top two sides from the GDCA, Doyle said Sunbury would continue to have a big presence in the association.
Doyle said early reaction had been positive and he said there were hopes the move would help attract players to the club.
The club is in the process of appointing a coach.
Doyle said the club was hoping the move to turf would also help in the club’s quest for a women’s team, which would also play on turf. He said that since the announcement, there had been some interest in coaching a women’s side.
“The interest last year was excellent,” he said. “But the common question was, ‘Do you play on turf?’ Without having a turf wicket, we weren’t able to get the side up.”