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Second effort up for discussion at cricket meeting

STEPPING STONE: Up-and-coming Brothers bowler Jack Weatherstone delivers during the 2013/14 CRCA second-grade grand final against Tucabia-Copmanhurst. PHOTO: DEBRAH NOVAK
STEPPING STONE: Up-and-coming Brothers bowler Jack Weatherstone delivers during the 2013/14 CRCA second-grade grand final against Tucabia-Copmanhurst. PHOTO: DEBRAH NOVAK

THE second-grade competition will be the hot topic at tonight's Clarence River Cricket Association annual general meeting.

Usually happy to play second fiddle to Premier League, this time the CRCA's next tier has attracted the limelight.

At present the second-grade season comprises both one and two-day matches. It has been proposed by Coutts Crossing Cricket Club to transform the competition to one-day matches only, similar to the current third-grade format.

"Our club has put in a notice of motion to recommend that second grade be a one-day competition this year with a vision to attracting more cricketers to the game," Coutts Crossing president Mal Tilse said.

"We just believe with everyone's busy schedules people are reluctant to commit to two days. A lot of people prefer to play that day and be finished."

In 2013/14 Coutts Crossing fielded two teams; in Premier League and in third grade where they finished minor premiers. Tilse believes Coutts will have sufficient numbers to add a second-grade side should the motion be carried.

"We put this idea out to the players," he said. "A few said they would be keen to play second grade if it was a one-day competition.

"For some older guys, to stand in the field all day really takes it out of you."

In the two-day format, teams can be in the field for up to 80 overs. The one-day games are limited to 40 overs per side.

The CRCA currently allows teams to name up to three changes for the second day of a two-dayer to cater to players who are only available for one week.

Last season Tucabia-Copmanhurst defeated Brothers in the second-grade grand final. Both clubs indicated they will oppose the changes.

"We're happy with the way it works now," Brothers president Tim Kinnane said.

"The one-dayers over the Christmas period allow people to go away and you can have three changes each week for two-dayers."

Kinnane stressed the importance of second grade as a stepping stone for developing players.

"If second grade is all one-dayers, kids won't have the chance to learn to play two-day cricket," he said.

"I compare it to a rugby league team playing Oztag in reserve grade and then having to learn to tackle when they sit on the bench for first grade."

Bede Martin was the successful second grade captain for Tucabia and has signalled his intention to lead the side again in 2014/15. He said it was decided at the club's AGM last Thursday to vote against any changes.

"For a junior coming through the grades to play second and third grades as one-dayers means he would have no two-day experience when he steps up to Premier League," Martin said.

"It's a curly one because, yes, we do need to boost numbers, but I don't think the proposed change will achieve that.

"We've got the rotational rules to be able to bring players in when a player is unavailable. And at the end of the day, we already play half the season as two-dayers and the rest are one-dayers anyway."

Topics:  clarence river cricket association