Mid-week won't work

PLAYING a junior cricket competition mid-week after school hous isn't feasible, Manning Junior Cricket secretary David Burley said.

Mr Burley was responding to a recent Times article on Mid North Coast senior development officer Ashley Bryant, who spoke about the challenges the game faces in coastal areas, particularly from sports.

He said he had been approached by parents from the Great Lakes who were against their children playing cricket on Saturday mornings and would prefer a mid-week competition.

However, Mr Burley said a mid-week competition wouldn't work.

"We've looked at playing mid-week,'' Mr Burley said.

"A couple of years ago we also asked the under 16s if they wanted to play Friday evenings. But they wanted to stay on Saturdays.''

He said a mid-week competition wouldn't be able to start until November when there was sufficient light.

"And it would only run for three months - November, December and February - we don't play in January because of the school holidays,'' he explained.

The junior cricket season currently runs from early October to March, excluding January.

He also rejected a claim by Bryant that the Mid North Coast associations are too concerned about high performance players.

"Every kid who wants to play cricket gets a game, whether they can bat bowl, field or not. We don't turn anyone away,'' he said.

"But the better kids are selected into representative teams where there are programs in place to help them improve. That's no different to any other sport.''

Mr Burley believes cricket's biggest problem is the fact development officers aren't getting into primary schools and encouraging children to play the game.

He claims this is due to budget cuts by Cricket NSW.

"Back when Aaron Bird started playing for NSW he was visiting schools. Our junior numbers were good then,'' he said.

Bird started playing cricket in the Manning junior competition.

Meanwhile the final of the Mid North Coast inter-district cricket under 16s will be an all Manning affair with Manning Highlanders to meet Manning Coastal on Sunday at Cedar Party Reserve.

The game will be played at Cedar Party from 10am.

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