Birregurra pulls out of top-grade cricket

 Birregurra has withdrawn its Division One cricket team on the eve of the upcoming season, but will have three teams in 2014-15 including an under-14 side. Club officials, left, Peter Hanlon and Luke Hutchinson, are pictured with junior Saints, from left, Harry Jarvis, Patrick Wheadon, Hugh Jarvis, Gabe Hanlon and Will Wheadon.

Birregurra has withdrawn its Division One cricket team on the eve of the upcoming season, but will have three teams in 2014-15 including an under-14 side. Club officials, left, Peter Hanlon and Luke Hutchinson, are pictured with junior Saints, from left, Harry Jarvis, Patrick Wheadon, Hugh Jarvis, Gabe Hanlon and Will Wheadon.

BIRREGURRA’S return to Division One cricket has been short lived, with the Saints withdrawing on the eve of the Colac District Cricket Association season.

The Saints nominated a team for Colac district cricket’s top grade following the CDCA’s decision to play the upcoming 2014-15 season as all one-day matches.

Club president Luke Hutchinson said Birregurra expected to attract key players because of the move, but recruiting attempts failed.

Birregurra’s addition to Division One would have taken the competition to eight sides, eradicating the bye round.

“I’ve apologised to Mick and the rest of the board, and we feel pretty bad about doing it so late,” Mr Hutchinson said.

“When the Division One went to a one-day format we thought we could probably do it but it just got to the stage where we didn’t have the quality of players,” he said.

“We had a couple of players in the wings who were in the Geelong league that have a Birregurra connection, but they’re not coming.”

But the Saints are set to field Division Two and Division Three sides and an under-14 team this season, after the club only had a Division Two team in 2013-14.

Mr Hutchinson said more sides and upgraded facilities at Birregurra Recreation Reserve had the club in a strong position moving forward.

“We’re going to go from one team last year to three this year, which includes under-14s,” he said.

“We’re going to field an under-14s, we’ve got brand new cricket nets about to go in, so as a club we’re definitely going forward, but it just wasn’t the right timing.

“For a start you’ve got to have juniors, so we’ve put that in place and hopefully that will put us in a good position down the track.”

CDCA president Michael Rafaniello said it was regrettable the Division One competition had an odd amount of sides again, but he thought the club was headed in the right direction despite the Saints’ hiccup.

“We were pretty keen to get Division One back to eight sides, so it was pretty unfortunate, but at least it was before the season, so we’ve got a bit of time to re-adjust the draw,” he said.

“I think they’re pretty disappointed, they were keen to step up, but they’ve got a junior side in this year which is good for the future, so hopefully they’re only a year or two from coming back in.”

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