Arguably the Ballarat Cricket Association's most damaging player has recommitted to Darley for season 2020-21.
Star all-rounder Danza Hyatt will stay on for a third season with the first grade reigning premiers, which are assembling a similar squad to the one that carried it to glory this year.
Due to COVID-19 related border restrictions, Hyatt has been unable to return to his home in Jamaica, where his wife has recently given birth to another child.
Lions captain Brad Barnes said while it was disappointing for Hyatt to be unable to return home, it was great for the club to secure his services for another campaign.
"We spoke to him on a regular basis and now it's come out yesterday that he's happy enough to stay and we are really grateful as a club to have his services for another year because we know how much of a star he is," Barnes said.
Barnes had no hesitation in labeling Hyatt the best cricketer he had played with or against in his career.
"He sits on top," Barnes said.
"He is just a class above and you speak to other people from other clubs and they are just in awe of him.
"He's the best player I've played with and against by far."
Last season, Hyatt smashed 633 first grade runs at an average of 79.1 and also took five wickets. He also helped lead the Lions to Twenty20 glory with an unbeaten century in the semi-final and then 22 in the decider against Mt Clear.
Speaking with The Courier in April, Hyatt said it had been difficult to be forced to remain in Australia.
"The roughest part of this is not knowing when you can leave," Hyatt said.
"You don't know what's going on. You're checking the news daily and you see it's getting worse, especially outside of Australia."
Hyatt played a handful of international one-day and Twenty20 games for the West Indies at the peak of his career. His best performance with the willow came when opening the batting for the West Indies against Bangladesh in an ODI during 2011. He made 39 - hitting two fours and four sixes - as his side easily chased down the target needed for victory.
While Darley is thrilled to retain Hyatt, Barnes said it was now looking unlikely that English import Harry Killoran would be able to return next season due to border restrictions. The all-rounder returned home to the UK after the season finished.
A range of other key figures have agreed to stick with the Lions again next season, including wicket-keeper batsman Anthony Taylor, quick Madushanka Ekanayaka, all-rounder Hasitha Wickramasinghe and coach Brian Wheelahan.
Darley was to meet Golden Point in this season's grand final, but was awarded the premiership when the match was abandoned due to COVID-19.
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