IRREWARRA has relocated to Colac in a radical decision club officials say will protect the future of the cricket club.
The Redbacks will play the 2015-16 season and beyond at a new oval on Colac Secondary College grounds after members voted to end their 92-year presence at the Irrewarra township.
President Jaccob Rodda said Irrewarra club members were confident the shift was in the best interests of Irrewarra’s longevity in Colac district cricket.
He said the club ensured Redbacks life members were part of the decision, and despite hesitation among some voters on the move, the majority were in favour of the historic change.
“There’s a long history, so we made sure we were careful about it,” Mr Rodda said.
“We contacted all the life members and had conversations with them.
“Some of them were unsure, but the current board that’s been in place has substantially grown the club over the last decade, so they knew the club was in good hands.
“They understood whatever decision we made was in the best interests of the club, and while there were a couple of people that still voted against it, the majority could see that it was a positive step.”
Mr Rodda said club officials commenced a move to Colac after watching rival clubs battle in recent years.
“You look at how many clubs have struggled or disbanded over the last decade, and we knew that this might be only chance we get to have a beautiful facility in the sporting hub of Colac,” he said.
“There were only a couple of people that played out there that lived at Irrewarra – the club’s the people, not necessarily the location.
“We’re obviously still Irrewarra and we want to play under the Irrewarra brand.”
Mr Rodda said the Redbacks would use makeshift clubrooms at the old Colac hockey fields at the Central Reserve precinct until they could attract sufficient funding to create a facility at the venue.
“We’ve worked with junior football programs, and the umpires association in cricket and they hope to host meetings there when we’re developed,” he said.
“We’ve put an application in for the shire and there’s some State Government funding around at the moment and they’ve got to select the right applicants for that, so hopefully we are part of that.
“It could be two or three years, or even six or seven years until we have club rooms and change rooms there.
“Until then we’ll be based out of the hockey rooms across the road and there’ll be a temporary bus shelter for players and scorers.”
Club officials say the Irrewarra Cricket Club formed in 1923, with the Redbacks playing their early years at two private grounds near the old Irrewarra Primary School on Charlie Buchanan’s property and another on the Hitchings’ property.
The club then moved to Warrowie Recreation Reserve in the 1960s, where it spent almost six decades.