Top flight dream: Waratahs gunning to move back into ODCA’s premier grade

WE'RE BACK, BABY: Waratahs president Scott McLean (middle), flanker by two of the club's potential first graders Manu Mohan and Ryan Noon. Photo: MATT FINDLAY
WE'RE BACK, BABY: Waratahs president Scott McLean (middle), flanker by two of the club's potential first graders Manu Mohan and Ryan Noon. Photo: MATT FINDLAY

Waratahs look set to commit to an Orange District Cricket Association top grade return in the 2018-19 summer but the sky blues aren’t just looking to fill a hole to create a six-team competition, they want to produce results.

The club last contested the top flight in 2013-14 and won just a single game and they’ve had varied levels of success playing in the lower grades since, but have always expressed a desire to potentially return to the premier division.

The ODCA has always pushed for Waratahs’ return too, particularly after putting a heavy focus on streamlining its competitions in recent seasons.

Basically, the governing body wants each club to have a side in every competition, Waratahs’ top grade return is crucial to that and it’s something the sky blues have been building towards.

“We’re well aware having the bye in first grade isn’t ideal and it wasn’t ideal in seconds last season either, we wore the club that had the top grade bye every week,” Waratahs president Scott McLean said, the sky blues just missed the second grade finals last year and were beaten grand finalists in thirds.

“We basically had the plan last season to build towards this, so we’re giving it everything we can and leaving no stone unturned because we’re hoping to get there this year.”

Naturally though, moving up requires having a side with enough quality to justify doing so.

There’s a number of players already at Waratahs who have the ability, for instance Matt Rumble plundered 475 runs at an average of 52.8 with two tons in second grade last season, while Ryan Noon picked up 19 wickets at 21.

Manu Mohan is another who has destroyed lower grade attacks consistently in recent seasons, as is Dennis Cyriac, but McLean says his club is also looking to recruit, and add in some useful outside talent.

We're leaving no stone unturned because we’re hoping to get there this year.

Waratahs president Scott McLean

He said he’d love to see a number of Waratahs juniors that have moved to other clubs in a bid to play first grade return as well, and don the baggy blue.

“We have a number of younger guys in the club that need the opportunity to play first grade because if they don’t get it with us they’ll go somewhere else to get it,” McLean said.

“There’s a few of the older guys that would step up too, to provide some mentorship, but we are looking for some outside help, players that are first grade quality, to join the club.

“We’d welcome any players that wanted the opportunity and it would be great to see some of our juniors come back to the club, because we want to do it here with local players, and of course we don’t want to be also-rans.

“We’re not going to get too far ahead of ourselves obviously and the measure of success would, I think, just be being competitive every week.”

Anyone interested in joining Waratahs’ top grade bid can contact McLean on 0404 017 986, or head to the club’s Facebook group to get in touch, or get some more information.

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