‘Door is not closed’ on aspiring first grade clubs

Ballarat Cricket Association’s operations officer Greg Wakeling has made it clear the door is still open to clubs holding first grade aspirations, amid strong words from Coronet City president Troy McCarthy.

Coronet City was demoted from the firsts after a disastrous 2015-16 season where it did not win a game and suffered five outright defeats.

McCarthy felt his club had been left in the dark during the process, which saw Buninyong promoted to the first grade for 2018-19, of assessing potential candidates for the tenth team in the firsts.

While McCarthy concedes he did not feel the club was ready to return to the top level just yet, he felt it deserved to be considered and “would’ve liked to be in that discussion” – which it was not.

Coronet City junior Dave Lepoidevin

Coronet City junior Dave Lepoidevin

Wakeling provided clarity on the situation.

“The door is not closed on Coronet City to come back into the firsts competition,” Wakeling said.

“If Coronet wanted to approach the BCA this year and say ‘we think we’re ready to go back in’ we’d definitely consider it.

“(But) they have been told there are no guarantees you’ll get back in when you want to.”

McCarthy also cast his concerns over the elevation of Buninyong into the first grade competition.

McCarthy hopes Buninyong can prove him wrong, but he feels the significant jump in standard can prove “detrimental” to a club if it is not fully equipped.

“If they cop a hammering week after week – I think I know better than anyone in Ballarat, without being smart, that it is difficult to run a club when you are getting hammered,” he said.

“I hope I’m wrong...because I don’t like to see any club struggle.”

McCarthy questioned what he felt was an unwritten requirement to survive at first grade level and that was a war chest beyond $20,000 to recruit players. He said Coronet City was looking to emulate the Wendouree model and build from its juniors.

“We want to continue to develop our junior, I think that’s the best way to alleviate the (recruitment) cost. That’s what Wendouree’s done, it’s junior program has fed them six premierships.”