By Mick Jensen
It is becoming clear that if we continue to do what we have been doing, then we could potentially face the loss of even more numbers and more teams–Garfield CharlesMid Canterbury’s senior cricket competition is in trouble.
A meeting of players, clubs and officials is being held next week to look at the way forward for the senior grade cricket competition, a competition that is in danger of not happening next season.
It is not quite crisis time yet, but with senior playing numbers down, direction is needed from the cricket playing community.
Just four club teams have been involved in this season’s senior competition, one of those a combined team from Allenton and Methven, which is unlikely to take to the pitch next season.
Mid Canterbury Cricket director of cricket Garfield Charles said he urged anyone involved with the game to come along to the Domain Oval meeting at 7.30pm on March 20.
The aim of the meeting was to discuss the future of the club competition, in particular the open grade format.
“It is becoming clear that if we continue to do what we have been doing, then we could potentially face the loss of even more numbers and more teams,” he said.
He said a senior competition could not run with three teams, and it was looking that way at the moment.
Players and clubs needed to decide how they wanted the game to play out.
Without a local senior competition here, clubs would need to consider playing in either the South Canterbury or Canterbury Country competitions.
Anything and everything was potentially on the table and up for discussion, said Mr Garfield, including another format for the game.
He said the loss of adult cricket would have a flow on effect across all cricket, including at junior and representative level.
Now, junior players are affiliated with clubs like Coldstream, Technical, Lauriston, Methven and Allenton.
Once those players go on to college, the affiliation stops and most either play for college teams or stop playing.
College teams play in the schools competition on Saturdays, and at the same time as local senior club cricketers play.
The irony, says Garfield Charles, is that junior numbers are strong and increasing, with 14 teams playing this season.
Youth numbers were holding their own, for now, but senior participation was declining.
There was a “disconnect” between junior and senior cricket here, which was not ideal, but also not unique.
The decline in senior numbers was a nationwide issue that needed to be addressed.
Mr Charles said feedback from next week’s meeting would be collated and passed back to the cricket community.
Decisions on the future of the game locally would need to be made well before the start of next season, and ideally by September, or before.