A REPRESENTATIVE club from Ballarat could come under consideration for a place in the state’s top cricket competition as it looks to expand outside existing boundaries.
Victorian Premier Cricket strategy and development manager Mike Ronchi said a viable proposal from the Ballarat Cricket Association would be looked at, providing it met all the key criteria.
A club from the region would need to field four senior teams each weekend and have two good turf venues, as well as turf training facilities.
“If it’s for the better of Victorian cricket, we would certainly look at it,” Ronchi told The Courier.
Ronchi is also part of a Premier Cricket Expansion Committee, which has been established to take the game into growth areas.
There has also been recent support out of Bendigo for its own club in the VPC ranks.
“Those regional areas are growing now. Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and places like Warragul and Traralgon, there’s big growth happening there now,” he said.
“People are choosing the lifestyle of a tree change and still being prepared to commute into town.
“We are certainly not closed to the idea of keeping (the competition) all metro-based.”
Ronchi said a Victorian Premier Cricket review conducted towards the end of 2010 had seen a push to elevate the competition to 20 teams (currently 18) into expanding regions.
Ballarat Cricket Association president Alan Parker said there had been discussion about the possibility of fielding teams in the Melbourne-based league in years gone by, but it had been decided that implications for local cricket had been too great.
A squad of about 60 of the BCA’s best players would be needed to field four teams, says Parker, which would severely impact the standard of the Ballarat competition.
However, he said he was prepared to again look at the possibilities.
“There’s lots of pathways there that already exist (into VPC) and as long as those pathways remain accessible to everyone, that in the past has indicated there is not a great burning need to have a representative team down there,” Parker said.
“If the vast majority of clubs were in favour of it we would certainly be happy and willing to have a look at it.
“In the past, the clubs have indicated they would not support that.”