Junior teams struggle under pressure from other sports
JUNIOR cricket is well underway for the 2012-13 summer but clubs across the Valley are still struggling to field full teams
So much so, that the five-team under-16 competition combines clubs from the entire Clarence Valley.
Clarence River Junior Cricket Association president Adam Brown said participation numbers were an issue for every club.
"All the clubs are struggling for numbers this year," he said.
"Most clubs have struggled to field teams in all grades as well, so it's not a localised issue."
The U16 competition is the clearest example of the problems facing junior clubs.
It consists of only five teams - two of which are downriver and technically part of the Lower Clarence Cricket Association.
With 15 clubs operating across the Clarence Valley, there is no shortage of places to learn and play cricket.
Brown said it was difficult to convince juniors to pad up over summer, more so now with more sports available than ever before.
"Kids these days have more sports to choose from so that may contribute a bit," he said.
"Winter sports are running summer competitions along with all the other sports going on and cricket's being left behind.
"I don't know what the solution is but we have to try and stem the flow soon."
The dip in numbers has already forced a complete re-draw of the U14 competition after Easts were forced to remove one of their teams.
Brown said they had more than enough for one team and decided to hold off until more kids came to play.
"We had enough kids for a team and a half so we kept it open in the hope more kids would come along," Brown said.
"Unfortunately they didn't and we were forced to drop one of the teams last week."
In better news for junior cricket, the first of the inter-district representative games was played last weekend.
LCCA claimed bragging rights from the day of fixtures, picking up wins in the U14s and 16s. The U12s game was won by CRJCA.