Premier league open for debate

A MEETING will be held on Monday night to discuss alternative ways to improve local cricket as a 12-team competition and the creation of a players’ association.

Western Suburbs lower-grader Ross Declerck, a former Newcastle District Cricket Association committee member, is the driver behind the initiative.

He will chair the meeting, which is not sanctioned by the NDCA, at Cardiff RSL on Monday at 7pm.

Declerck has been contacting club officials and players over the past fortnight to invite them to the meeting.

The NDCA committee is aware of the meeting but has not been invited and will not attend. 

Declerck said developing better links between junior and senior clubs and improving coaching would be discussed, but central to the meeting would  be the NDCA’s push for an eight-team premier league.

Declerck denied the meeting was about organising a rebel ticket to unseat the NDCA committee.

The NDCA believes reducing clubs is the best way to raise standards, but Declerck said the same outcome could be achieved in a 12-team competition.

‘‘We want to assess how things are going at club level to try and take a more positive approach towards improving things, as it’s pretty much a negative one this association is taking with looking at mergers and cutting clubs and this two-tiered approach,’’ Declerck said.

He has spoken to people from Central Coast cricket who adopted a premier league in 2010-11 and others in Newcastle cricket. Most were against promotion and relegation, he said.

‘‘There seems to be a bit of unhappiness out there about this constant push towards merging of clubs and this second-tier structure, which in the eyes of many people would cause quite a few players to leave these bottom-level clubs.

‘‘It would cause problems through other grades because the structure doesn’t have continuity.’’

Sydney grade cricket recently adopted a six-man players’ subcommittee, and Declerck said a similar plan for Newcastle would be discussed at the meeting.

He has proposed a 12-man  panel with representatives from all clubs which would liaise with the NDCA about issues affecting the sport.

NDCA secretary Royce McCormack said his committee would not attend the meeting but welcomed any discussion on cricket. 

‘‘This is democracy at work. Anyone can call meetings, whether it be to form a ticket to unseat us, a players’ association or an idea,’’ McCormack said.

‘‘We have no objection to meetings being called, and nor should we.’’

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