WOORNDOO and Simpson are all but certain to join an expanded South West Cricket division one competition this season.
The two clubs this week nominated to play in the top grade, lifting the number of competing teams to 11.
They join Mortlake, Pomborneit, Terang, Noorat, Cobden, Heytesbury Rebels, Camperdown, Bookaar and Boorcan chasing the flag.
SWC secretary Grant Myers said the association would confirm the make-up of its grades at a meeting on September 25.
He said officials were happy to accommodate Woorndoo and Simpson, adamant “the more teams in division one, the better”.
“We’re not going to cap it at 10 and say ‘bad luck, you blokes were the last ones to nominate, you’re out’,” he said.
“We want sides to put their hands up. They know what they’re in for.
“It would’ve been different if we were playing two-day cricket, we could’ve been doing a cap.
“But because it’s one-day cricket, you might have a washout and a bye, it’s only two weeks.” The top grade nominations reflect two clubs looking to strengthen themselves for years to come.
Simpson has played in divisions two and three with young cricketers the last five years.
But those players are in their early and mid-20s now and are ready to take on the SWC elite.
Simpson president Wayne Green said the club would play division one for the first time in 12 years. “We started with a group of players six or seven years ago that were 16-year-olds and they’ve played together the whole time, working their way up,” Green said.
“We went back to division three, then division two. They’re 23 and 24 this year. We think it’s time for them to take the next step.
“We don’t hold any unrealistic ambitions of what we’ll be able to achieve in our first year.
“But we feel we need to give them the experience of top-level cricket so they can develop for two or three years’ time.”
Green said the experience of opening batsman Phil Vines would be crucial in the Tigers’ fortunes.
He said the club was still chasing a couple of experienced batsmen to shore up the middle order.
Green was appreciative SWC officials had faith in what the club was trying to achieve.
“We were down to one team five or six years ago, the club was on the brink,” he said.
“We’re coming out the other side now. The next decade we’re really going to push forward.”
Woorndoo, meanwhile, has likewise battled away in divisions two and three but has reportedly recruited well during the off-season.
A lack of players forced the Tigers to withdraw their division two side midway through last season, while the division three side finished bottom.
But the Tigers are in the midst of a resurgence and could be one of the surprise packets of the summer.
Woorndoo president Gary Cameron was unavailable for comment.
SWC officials received eight nominations for division two and 11 for division three.