CORONET City president Troy McCarthy has cited rising player payments as a major reason behind his club’s decision to withdraw from the region’s premier cricket competition.
The long-time Ballarat Cricket Association strugglers will not be part of the firsts division in season 2016-17 after opting to field its top team in the seconds grade.
This follows years of battling by the club, which failed to win a match throughout 2015-16, a campaign that saw City suffer five outright defeats.
The A-grade side won just two games the season prior and only one the year before that.
McCarthy said his club would need “five or six” recruits to be competitive in the firsts next season and it wasn’t willing to fork out the cash needed to secure those players.
“We’d have to spend $5000 or $6000 a player,” he said.
McCarthy described withdrawing from the firsts division as a “bigger decision than the merge” between Wendouree City and Coronet Invermay in 1997.
“It’s a real gamble from us,” he said.
McCarthy said the club would present a three-year plan to the BCA, with an ultimate aim to return to the top-flight competition in the future.
Nine teams are likely to fight out the A-grade premiership next season, with a bye expected as a result of an uneven number of sides.
BCA president Rob Florence said City’s decision to pull out of the firsts was not influenced by the league.
“We’re disappointed where it will create a bye in the elite level,” Florence said.
“But we are happy to support (Coronet City) in their plans moving forward and we'll be there to help them.”
The Courier understands there was real interest in a representative team from the Grampians Cricket Association joining the BCA, but that has since fallen through.
“From an association point of view, we’ll drive to see whether a replacement club is possible, but it would appear at this stage nothing’s possible for the 2016-17 season,” Florence said.
English wicket-keeper/batsman Toby Horton will play for the club next season in a seconds side that will be captained by Brad Dunbar.
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