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‘Proof in the pudding’: Coaches respond to Premier Cricket division

The competition would be split into two divisions under the proposal outlined to club presidents and delegates by SACA on Monday night with a with a consultation period through 2022-2023.In the makeover, six first grade clubs would compete in division one, and seven would compete in division two. Division one would involve a 10-round season, with teams playing each other twice in a home-and-away fixture. The top four clubs in each division would play finals, while one club would be promoted from division two and relegated from division one at the end of each season. South Australia’s Premier CricketWest Torrens coach Mark Harrity said he was on the fence with the proposal. “It’s an unknown at the moment, the proof will be in the pudding, but at least they’re trying something because nothing’s changed in quite a while now,” Harrity said. Harrity held concern about clubs retaining players under a two-divisional system in which cricketers would be aiming to play for top div clubs to receive attention from the SA Redbacks sides. “That no doubt will be a concern, especially for those clubs who rely heavily on recruiting,” he said. “At West Torrens we’re fortunate to have had guys like Daniel Drew, Kelvin Smith, Bailey Capel and others come through the juniors so there’s more loyalty.” Glenelg coach Sam McNally also had some doubts about the proposed split. “We’re trying to improve high performance by the Redbacks through this but I’m still yet to be convinced their struggles are to do with the quality of grade cricket, otherwise we wouldn’t see the strong performances of the state underage teams,” he said. “Player retainment would be difficult too if div two was seen as inferior to div one and I also think there should be more teams in the top division. “I don’t mind it in theory but practically it might be tough, and I want to see a bit more information before I’m set on my opinions.”Prospect coach Steve Broberg hoped SACA would clarify the system in detail with clubs sooner rather than later. “I’m sure they (SACA) have got more details but we want to see what the parameters of the proposal are so we can at least get a glimpse of what it would mean for the clubs,” Broberg said. The proposal followed recommendations made by a strategic committee of SACA board members and Premier Cricket officials formed after the failed merger attempt between Adelaide and Southern District in 2021.SACA chief Charlie Hodgson said a two-divisional model would preserve clubs’ futures and enhance the strength of the competition.“We want to grow the game and that doesn’t mean fewer clubs unless, of course, clubs themselves want to merge,” Hodgson said. “This will provide tougher competition to significantly enhance the strength and quality of men’s Premier Cricket.“Ultimately this will help us to develop more homegrown domestic and international players.”

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