Like a tight LBW decision, the vote on whether to allow Waaia and Nagambie to join Cricket Shepparton’s ranks could have gone either way.
There was plenty for the association’s executive board and club representatives to digest — including the overall health of cricket in the region, what an expanded Cricket Shepparton competition would look like and whether the new clubs’ facilities were up to standard — but in the end I believe the right call was made.
The positives of injecting new blood into the association far outweigh the negatives, even if there are still a few question marks over whether the sides will be able to compete in the premier Haisman Shield competition.
Waaia brings with it a core group of exciting cricketers ready to take their game to the next level, and in sides like Numurkah and Katandra have immediate rivals to focus their attention towards straight away.
Nagambie is somewhat of a different beast, with a growing population of potential cricketers in the town ready to be harnessed — but in recent years the club has lacked the selling point to do so.
This move to Cricket Shepparton could certainly be the catalyst in that quest for growth becoming a success, but even if it is not the club seems to have the drive to grind and graft its way to competitiveness.
I have also written at length about my support for promotion and relegation systems in cricket and football in this region — as recently as March 20 when it comes to a ‘‘Goulburn Valley Cricket League’’ — and this is certainly the first major step in that direction.
The Murray Valley Cricket Association and Seymour District Cricket Association will suffer from their respective losses, but Waaia and Nagambie stated at Monday night’s meeting they had done everything they felt possible to work with their previous competitions to build a better future.
That future may now lie in the direction of more clubs joining Cricket Shepparton within the next five to 10 years, but for cricket to thrive in this region I firmly believe that is the way to go.
In the meantime, though, the short-term implications of Waaia, Nagambie and Euroa likely fielding A-grade sides next season are exciting to say the least.
I am already buzzing with anticipation for the new storylines which will unfold in the weeks and months to follow this decision, including the fact recruiting season just kicked up three gears overnight.
So I’d simply like to welcome Waaia and Nagambie, wish Euroa luck in its latest A-grade campaign and congratulate Cricket Shepparton for taking the initiative to be the driving force for change in the region — because in this current sporting environment ‘‘standing still’’ is just another way to say ‘‘going backwards’’.