MORTLAKE officials say they will keep an open mind about a South West Cricket decision to play solely one-day matches in the top grade.
Club president Greg Howat said the club was eager to gauge the success of the new format when the season started on October 13.
Mortlake, the 2011-12 premier, was the only SWC division one club to oppose a motion to play 50-over one-day games in division one.
The change is to help the SWC representative squad prepare for its debut in the provincial grade of Melbourne Country Week.
It also aims to help clubs retain players, but Howat said it could have the opposite effect.
Howat said the Cats had not lost players, but most of the division one playing group was “extremely disappointed” with the new format.
“Mortlake has been around for a long time and has played fairly competitive cricket for a long time,” he said. “We felt two-day cricket in the highest grade is where you should be aiming.
“If you’re going to attract or retain the best cricketers, they want to play the best cricket and we believe that’s two-day cricket.
“We haven’t lost anyone that we’re aware of. (But) there were a number of players who were extremely disappointed. I’m sure they will be looking at what happens next year.
“It could be we change our mind after having played for a year, but at the moment we aren’t ready to make such a startling change.”
The move to one-day cricket has already paid dividends for SWC officials, with Cobden returning to division one.
The club dropped back to division two last summer and its return will see nine teams contest the top grade.
The presence of a bye is another justification for a one-day cricket season, given clubs could otherwise go a fortnight without a match.
But Howat is adamant division one should have an even number of sides in the future.
Howat said Mortlake would consider its future if one-day cricket continued in 2013-14, when clubs will again vote on the issue. “We would have to look at our future next year,” he said.
“If we didn’t believe the year was a success — and there were issues and the feeling of the senior players was that way — we’d have to seriously look at that.
“If we went south (to the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association), we assumed we would require a turf wicket.
“But I understand other clubs have co-tenancy agreements, which is something we might look at.”