WDCA set for bumper summer
DESPITE encountering a couple of significant stumbling blocks in the lead up, Wangaratta and District Cricket Association president Justin Triffitt is looking forward to an action packed summer.
The WDCA’s A grade competition has been reduced by two teams, from 11 down to nine, following the departure of Corowa to Cricket Albury Wodonga and the merger between Benalla Bushrangers and Benalla Violet Town United.
“That definitely made things tricky going into this season,” Triffitt said.
“With Corowa’s move, we would have liked them to have stayed, but there is no animosity there – we had good discussions with them beforehand.
“And the merger was a bit of a last minute thing.
“Benalla Violet Town United was on the verge of collapsing, so a merger was the best solution for them.
“So we’ve had a few challenges, but the positives have definitely outweighed the negatives.”
Among the positives has been the reintroduction of the A reserve grade for this season.
“We ended up with 16 teams in B grade last season playing in two conferences,” Triffitt said.
“The powerhouse clubs had two teams and they were playing against one another in the finals, so we wanted to get away from that.
“By bringing back A reserve we can have a more even competition at every grade, and it also gives us a stronger pathway towards A grade cricket for the players coming up through the ranks.”
Among the initiatives for the coming season is the return of a T20 competition, which will take place in January and February with cash incentives for participating clubs.
“We will play it as a Saturday/Sunday round robin, with both an A grade and an A reserve grade,” Triffitt said.
“We will have games across the region, with some under lights, and the two finals to be played on the first Friday night in February.
“Toxfree is on board as the sponsor, so we will have prize money of $500 for the winning team of each grade.
“It definitely adds a bit of excitement for everyone, and the clubs have all told us that they want to have T20 cricket back on the calendar.”
The WDCA is also expanding on its first foray into a separate female competition, with further clubs coming to the party.
“The girls’ competition is flying at the moment,” Triffitt said.
“We’ve got Andrew Bell heading that up, and we should have draws out this week.
“There will be teams from Benalla, Mansfield and Beechworth all coming in, and Ovens Valley is also looking to get a team up, so the competition is really thriving.”
Off the field, the association has made further steps to strengthen its position with Kookaburra signing a three-year sponsorship deal.
“The support we get from Kookaburra is really favourable and it is something that we are extremely appreciative of,” Triffitt said.
“Without that support we would struggle to stay financially viable, so you just can’t understate how important that is.”