CRICKET: Souths determined to continue proud legacy
CRICKET: South Services Cricket Club has dispelled rumours it will not field a team in the Clarence River Cricket Association this season.
The club is preparing to register two senior sides, and also increase its junior output to two teams this summer.
But it did not come without a frank and open discussion at the club's annual general meeting last week.
With commitment from the playing group proving a hurdle for the proud club in recent seasons, it had considered the possibility of merging with another local club and even went to the lengths of approaching other clubs.
But when that idea was hit on the head earlier in the off-season, newly elected vice-president Tom Kroehnert knew they had to look within their own back yard to find the answer.
"The capability has always been there, but we needed a commitment from the younger guys and the playing group in general," Kroehnert said.
"You can't just have two to three people doing all the work to keep the club afloat.
"This isn't a problem just faced by us. I think a lot of clubs are in that boat across all sports.
"We had an honest meeting with the playing group and our members. We needed to be realistic about the lack of support we have been getting. It was a very positive move."
The club will head into this season with a "more hands make light work" attitude led at the top by elected president Steve McLennan and his committee including secretary Bruce Baxter and treasurer Greig Sutherland.
While the club will not be entering the joint East Coast Premier League competition formed with Coffs Harbour first grade sides, Kroehnert hoped they would be more competitive at a local level.
"The blokes we had in first grade last year put in a good effort, and they will be better for the run," Kroehnert said.
"The young guys we brought up more than held their own, and I would like to see us improve from last season for sure.
"We had more bad days than good days last year and we need to turn that around this season. Our bowling last year was right up there, but we rarely set a target they could defend. We need to improve our batting effort."
While South Services will not compete in the East Coast Premier League, it is understood two CRCA affiliate clubs will make a move for the competition.
It is understood reigning premiers Harwood will step up to the plate, while Coutts Crossing has shown their hand, launching a joint assault on the Premier League with Coffs Colts.
The merged first grade side will play under both clubs, and allows former Coutts Crossing opener Luke Cox to rejoin his former teammates Eli Fahey and Nick Wood.