NDCA merger offer on table

NEWCASTLE District Cricket Association could offer clubs the opportunity to merge for a premier league while remaining autonomous in other grades.

The NDCA sent out a refined draft of its proposed eight-team premier league to clubs yesterday, after a meeting with club presidents on February 4.

Under the proposal, the NDCA will consider giving financial incentives to clubs to merge, which could include waiving affiliation fees or cash injections to help clubs manage the new structure.

Clubs could merge  in all grades or choose to join forces only in premier league, similar to NRL club Wests Tigers, who until this season fielded Wests Magpies and Balmain Tigers sides in the NSW Cup.

While mergers would be a step away from a premier league with promotion and relegation, NDCA chairman Paul Marjoribanks said it was another option to reduce the competition to his committee’s preferred model of eight teams.

‘‘It would be something bordering teams might be encouraged to do,’’ Marjoribanks said. ‘‘They could cover that geographical area and provide that pathway into premier league cricket and still maintain their identities in lower grades.

‘‘I understand the logistical issues of where do you practise, who picks the team, who do you report to.

‘‘They’re just small things, and if each club is committed to that direction, I think they become smaller things in the bigger picture.’’

Club presidents have been asked to take the NDCA draft proposal to their committees for feedback.

Under the NDCA’s proposal, once an eight-team premier league was in place there would be annual promotion for two teams and relegation for two teams.

Any change to the structure of the competition would be delayed until the 2014-15 season to give clubs time to position themselves for the premier league.

All clubs would remain eligible to compete in the state-wide SCG Country Cup and the NDCA may consider allowing all clubs to enter a district Twenty20 competition.

 AAP reports:  Australian captain Jodie Fields says her side must put more value on their wickets in the women’s cricket World cup final against the West Indies tomorrow after a disappointing batting effort in their shock loss to the same side.

The West Indies scored their first one-day international win over Australia in four attempts with an eight-run victory in the final round of the Super Sixes phase in Mumbai, India, yesterday.

Chasing 165, Australia, who had won all five of their previous matches in the tournament, were dismissed for 156 with 10 balls remaining.

They lost their last five wickets for 26 but have a swift opportunity to exact revenge in the day-night final in Mumbai.

‘‘I don’t think it’s ever good to have a loss, so we definitely came out and really wanted to win the match and go through the tournament undefeated,’’ Fields said.

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