Harwood's Mark Ensbey slaps a ball through point during the first day of the CRCA GDSC Premier League grand final between Harwood and Tucabia at Ellem Oval.
Harwood's Mark Ensbey slaps a ball through point during the first day of the CRCA GDSC Premier League grand final between Harwood and Tucabia at Ellem Oval. Matthew Elkerton

CRICKET: Clubs handed deadline for joint league choice

CRICKET: Clarence Valley cricket clubs have been given a deadline of Monday to decide if they will partake in a potential joint premier league competition between sides from Clarence River, Lower Clarence, Nambucca Valley and Coffs Harbour District cricket associations.

Representatives from North Coast Cricket Council, which oversees the four cricket districts, joined Clarence River Cricket Association earlier this week for their monthly general meeting to further discuss the potential of the "East Coast Premier League”.

The competition will involve top-tier sides from the four associations in an attempt to ensure the standard of cricket is raised in the region.

NCCC representatives Rob Pye and Ken Robinson, and Coffs Harbour District president Steve Meakins fronted the meeting at the GDSC to answer questions on the league.

They raised two major reasons for forming a joint competition: creating a proper pathway for local junior cricketers, and creating a proper basis for selecting representative sides such as the Coffs Coast Chargers in the Plan B Regional Bash.

"A joint competition is the best way forward for all parties involved,” Pye said.

"It really gives those opportunities back to the players from all regions.”

CRCA vice-president Andrew McLachlan said concerns were raised about a lack of information on the league including formats, time frames and player restrictions, which Pye said would be something worked out once the league's proponents knew what commitment they had from local clubs.

"I think a lot of clubs would like to have something to sell to their players; it's hard to get commitment to something with no idea how it will be run,” McLachlan said.

"Several clubs have suggested they would be interested in a joint league, but we have had no definite answers yet.”

Pye was concerned meeting attendees had preconceived notions of not buying into the joint venture, which had hampered the NCCC's ability to communicate the benefits.

"It felt like Grafton had their Grafton hat on, they were just concerned about the coming season and not about the future of cricket on the North Coast,” he said.

"It is hard to drive the positives of this joint league when people have already written it off as nothing.”

Four clubs from the southern region of the council - Sawtell, Diggers, Colts and a joint Nambucca-Nana Glen - have committed to playing in the East Coast League.

Harwood was considered likely to take up the challenge.



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