TORONTO Workers president Aaron Gray hopes the planned merger with Southern Lakes juniors will mean more youngsters from western Lake Macquarie play first-grade cricket for the Kookaburras.
The merger between the clubs is expected to be signed next Tuesday at the juniors annual general meeting as they have already agreed in principal to the proposal.
The clubs plan to form an organisation, Cricket Southern Lakes, but the seniors will still be known as Toronto Workers.
A combined committee will be formed and sub-committees will run the seniors and juniors clubs.
Gray said the proposal would streamline sponsorship, expenses and resources between the clubs and provide an identifiable pathway from junior to senior cricket.
‘‘There’s a lot of Southern Lakes juniors playing at other clubs in Newcastle,’’ Gray said. ‘‘I’m not sure if there’s a direct correlation between being a merged entity or not, but this will hopefully give those people who get poached or they find interest in playing for different clubs, a direct pathway to play local and stay local.
‘‘We’re very focused on junior development, instead of picking the eyes out of the competition and luring players over once they’ve already been developed.’’
The Kookaburras will launch their pre-season academy at Ron Hill Oval on July 29.
Coaching co-ordinator Michael MacKenzie and first-graders Jonty Durrheim and Josiah McCredie will run the eight-week program for under 10s to 16s.
Guest specialist coaches will also attend, including Toronto’s own former Australian Test leg-spinner Robert Holland.
‘‘We’re about trying to foster participation in cricket,’’ Gray said. ‘‘It’s not necessarily for the elite and it’s not invitation based, it’s based on cricket interest.’’
For more information on the academy, call administrator David Howe on 0410589305.