By Sam Watson
THE Leongatha and District Cricket Association will include a new club next year, Nyora.
They are yet to get an official clearance from the West Gippsland Cricket Association (WGCA) and Cricket Victoria, but that is bound to happen in the coming weeks.
An email from the LDCA was sent to the current clubs on Tuesday, outlining Nyora’s entry into the league.
They will compete in A2 and B2 and will also put in an under 12s team, and potentially an all-girls side.
And LDCA president John Schelling said he wouldn’t expect there to be any animosity with the decision.
“We’ve been searching for a club or two,” Schelling said.
Schelling said the inclusion will be fantastic for the league and for Nyora.
“Hearing them talk about coming back to play country cricket, rather than the clubs they’re currently playing against, has been great.”
Nyora president Adam Mantel said he and everyone else at the club are very excited to be on the move.
“It’s been talked about for a few years now. Instead of procrastinating, we’ve decided to have a vote on it, and it almost passed unanimously,” Mantel said.
“The guys are really excited about playing like for like towns now. We can’t wait to get the season underway.”
The location of the club and the LDCA, along with the size of the towns they were playing against in the WGCA, were the catalysts behind the decision.
“It’s almost mini-cities now that we’ve been playing in the WGCA,” Mantel said.
“Thirty years ago, when we first joined the league, Clyde, Pakenham, Cranbourne Meadows, Officer and Upper Beaconsfield were all country towns.
“We’re finding it that it’s a bit hard to compete with the numbers they’ve got, and with what’s coming through in their juniors.
“So, we just thought now’s the time to move on and make a go of it and start trying to build the club up from the other side.”
Mantel said the players also played a big role in the decision to move.
“When we explained all the pros and cons to them, they said ‘let’s go for it’, so we were really happy with that.”
And he said people from outside of the committee had been of the opinion to switch leagues for a few years.
“In general, it’ll be well received throughout our supporters and people that come and watch us on weekends.”
The decision has also been well received by the clubs within the LDCA.
Koonwarra L/RSL president John Manicaro said his club was over the moon to have a new club in the league.
“I think it’s absolutely fantastic. It’s a great effort by the LDCA to get another club into the league,” Manicaro said.
“Hopefully, it’ll help the rest of the league get a bit stronger.”
Glen Alvie president Joe Hales said his club was also happy to welcome a new club, especially one that’s in a nearby location.
“Geographically, it makes a lot of sense. They’re not too far away from the rest of the league,” Hales said.
Nyora’s attention will now turn towards a successful year on and off the field, after finishing last in WGCA’s D Grade division.
“We’re extremely looking forward to our new chapter as a club and getting back into country cricket,” Mantel said.
Schelling said he and the rest of the board also can’t wait for local cricketers to take the field again, and also confirmed two-day games will return this season.
“We’ve been really pleased with the way things have gone and we’re looking forward to playing some two-day cricket again.”