Molong District Cricket Association will receive the welcome boost of an additional side in the upcoming 2019-20 summer, with Canowindra Cricket Club agreeing to make the shift after a tough season in the Lachlan Premier League.
By the end of last summer the difficulties for Canowindra were glaringly obvious, they'd gone through the year winless and were forced to expose a number of second grade and junior players to the competition's top tier.
Basically, as 2018-19 skipper Nick Traves said, they were just battling too hard and something had to change.
"We couldn't be a competitive A Grade side anymore," Traves said.
Molong happened to ask us if we wanted to join... we put it to one of our meetings and ... decided to head that way.Incumbent Canowindra skipper Nick Traves
"Molong happened to ask us if we wanted to join... we put it to one of our meetings and ... decided to head that way."
With no disrespect meant to the smaller, tight-knit Molong competition, Traves said he's confident the shift will be in tune with his squad's current standard and the ability to be competitive might be a massive help for player motivation, and numbers too.
"It should be a reasonable match to what our sides are looking like this year," he said.
"If we can go to that competition and be evenly-matched, it might... hopefully entice a few more younger players to come through."
He said pre-season numbers have been consistent and the opening round looms, with a solid core of eight or nine consistently preparing on Saturday afternoons in the lead-up to the season.
"We've had a pretty good turn out... coming into the season a few players are busy doing other things, so hopefully in the next couple of weeks we'll have 13 to 15 there at training," he said.
Traves will miss a handful of games this summer due to his partner's study commitments in Wollongong while his brother Brendan will likewise have similar gaps, but the former said he's hopeful it won't cause too much disruption.
He also said he's excited to see what Canowindra's youngsters can produce in unfamiliar conditions, and has already asked the question regarding representative availability and selection.
He and his brother were two of Cowra's best-performed in last summer's Western Zone Premier League.
"I'm going to be travelling ... but hopefully ... I'll be able to play most of the season," he said.
"There's definitely a lot of talent in Canowindra, it's just trying to get them to stick around. Hopefully with the switch to Molong it's looking more positive.
"I've asked the question, and I've been told that I'm still eligible to play for Cowra. I don't know what that means... if Orange were to ask some of our players to play, whether we're eligible to play for them as well, I'm not entirely sure.
"I suppose we'll deal with that as it comes."
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