THE merger of the three Mid North Coast first grade cricket competitions is inevitable, according to Manning Association's new president, David Burley.
Mid North Coast Council will discuss a proposal from Manning Cricket secretary, Craig Rees at its next meeting to merge the Manning, Hastings and Macleay first grade competition, as outlined in the Times on Friday November 1.
Mr Burley publicly supported the move in the Times on Wednesday, November 6. Along with Craig Martin, Mr Burley was behind a push to merge the Manning and Hastings A-grade competitions a decade ago, although this was eventually rejected by the Hastings clubs.
There are currently five clubs in the Manning first grade, six in the Hastings and four in the Macleay.
"It will happen,'' Mr Burley said, pointing out a similar competition is currently in play in the Ballina area.
He believes all three associations face similar problems of a shrinking player based caused by the loss of juniors who leave looking for work or to attend university.
However, he says there are some different hurdles to be overcome this time compared to when he made the move 10 years ago, the main being the availability of turf wickets in the Hastings association.
"I don't think there are any insurmountable problems, but there are still some things that will have to be worked out,'' he said.
"But I think it will happen within five years.''