Buninyong is poised to make the step-up to the top tier of Ballarat cricket in season 2018-19.
The club was announced on Monday as the newest member of the Ballarat Cricket Association’s first grade competition and will lift the division back to 10 teams following next season.
BCA president Rob Florence said Buninyong has the strong attributes and culture needed to make the transition into the top level of the association.
Florence said a strong and developing junior program has been an integral factor for granting Buninyong the licence, as has the club management and governance structure.
“While on-field success has assisted in the decision making process, the club’s current structure and long-term action plan has given all parties the confidence that it can compete at the highest level whilst also coping with the increased player, administrative and financial requirements that accompany it,” Florence said.
“It is important to note that we have not just moved to this point within our association purely to remove the bye in our top level competition.
“We have identified a club that will contribute to the strength of the competition, and therefore our association, and the BCA is delighted that the BCC has shown a willingness to take up the challenge of entering the firsts competition.”
Buninyong has been a powerful presence in the BCA second grade in recent seasons. The club won the seconds flag in 2015-16 before playing off in the grand final last campaign.
A turf wicket for the home ground at Buninyong is being heavily investigated and costed, with oval resurfacing works being undertaken by the City of Ballarat throughout season 2017-18.
A second hard wicket venue is also being discussed.
After a long-running battle to be competitive, Coronet City stepped aside from first grade cricket last season, leaving nine teams in the division for 2016-17.
Buninyong president Jason Giry told The Courier it had long been a dream of the club to compete at the highest level of cricket in Ballarat and that now was the right time for it to take on the challenge.