Super cricket

A SUPER League-style competition involving first grade cricket teams from the Manning, Hastings and Macleay Associations.

That's the vision of Manning Cricket Association secretary Craig Rees.

Mr Rees will put the suggestion to the next meeting of the Mid North Coast Council.

He said this would be for first grade teams only and would not have any impact on the minor grade competitions in any of the associations.

However, Mr Rees believes it is a pro-active way of improving cricket on the Mid North Coast.

"The Mid North Coast only has one player in the North Coast Zone side for the Country championships in Ballina next week,'' he said.

"I think that shows how we're rated in this area.''

Mr Rees believes a 10 team competition involving sides from the three areas would be viable.

Clubs would nominate to take part.

"This would also help improve the standard of the second and third grade competitions,'' he said.

"Currently we have some players in first grade sides turning out just to keep the teams going. With this, they could go back to play in the minor grades.''

Travel, he admits, would be the main concern.

"But I think it would only be a real problem for when teams from here played Macleay,'' he added.

"Perhaps we could play those games in the Hastings to cut down the travel.

"Look, there'd be a thousand problems to setting up the competition. But for every problem there's a solution.''

Mr Rees is in the process of putting together a submission to be discussed by the council.

"I think it would be too ambitious to get it going by next season,'' he said.

"But I think we could look at the season after.''

He hasn't spoken to officials from either the Macleay or Hastings associations on the matter yet.

Five clubs - down one on last season - will contest the Manning first grade competition this season. This follows the merger between Taree Leagues and Cundletown to form United.

However, United captain Ricky Campbell told the Times last week both clubs hope to have stand alone first grade teams next summer.

There are six clubs in the Hastings first grade competition with four in the Macleay.

Mr Rees understands talks were held about 10 years ago to merge the Manning and Hastings first grade competitions, but this eventually came to nothing. He knows there will be opposition to his plan.

"But I think this concept is worth looking at and at least discussed,'' he added.