Muddies to decide on bid to return to First Grade after 20 years
THEY have been batting above average for years — and now the high-flying Douglas Muddies are considering taking their game to another level.
Douglas Cricket Association members will meet next week to discuss the possibility of entering a First Grade side in the 2016-17 Cricket Far North competition.
Should they field a top-level side it would be the first time in almost 20 years the Muddies have competed at the region’s highest standard of cricket.
It comes as the Muddies ladder-leading Second Grade team prepares for this weekend’s one-day grand final against Mulgrave Punjabi.
The club’s Third Grade side has also enjoyed another successful season, sitting in first place on the Northern Zone two-day ladder.
Club president Ben Vikionkorpi said the Muddies had the strength both on and off the field to cut it in First Grade, despite a failed tilt in the top level during the late 1990s.
“The senior and junior numbers are strong, and most of our players are locals,” he said. “A lot of the other teams and umpires think we are capable of playing in First Grade.”
Vikionkorpi invited budding local cricketers to attend a meeting next Wednesday evening at the Port Douglas Sports Complex where the club would consider its options for next season and beyond.
But he said the Muddies, founded in the early 1990s, needed to be certain of their ability to sustain a top level side before they made any formal submission to Cricket Far North.
“We’re a bit reluctant to go in hammer and tong,” Vi- kionkorpi said. “It’s a threeyear commitment, and if it falls over we could basically end up getting smashed for three straight seasons. But if it works it could have great spin-offs for the local community.”
A ninth team in the Cricket Far North First Grade compet- ition could prove problematic as it would impose the need for a bye each week.
But there is some speculation a Muddies side could replace perennial cellar-dwellers Innisfail in the top division from next season.
Cricket Far North president Greg O’Neill said the Port Douglas side “ticked a lot of boxes” for a potential First Grade berth. Muddies stalwart Matt Schiesser said it was important for the Port Douglas and Mossman communities to participate in high level sporting competitions.
“It’d be great if one day a Muddies junior ended up rising through the ranks to play for Queensland or Australia,” he said.
Anyone interested in attending next Wednesday’s club meeting can call Ben on 0438 190 517.
Douglas Muddies players Ryan Doble, James Wilson,, Darren Hussey and Pete Gilmour have enjoyed another strong season in 2015/16.