East Warrnambool YCW's top brass have vowed to turn the club's fortunes around after withdrawing its division one side from the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association's highest level.
The move, confirmed on May 9, will see the WDCA's division one competition reduced to 10 sides in the 2019/20 season, thereby eradicating the bye, as the Broncos field sides in division two and three.
This would increase the number of teams in division two to 13, with a bye round introduced.
East Warrnambool YCW played in a division one grand final in 2015 and reached a semi-final in 2016.
But the club struggled to be competitive after it narrowly missed finals in 2017, finishing bottom in 2018 without achieving a win and bottom again in 2019 with a 2-13 record.
And for this season's Broncos division one coach Jarrod Wilson, enough was enough.
"It was a relief after battling away in the ones," he said.
"I just think it's the best thing for the club. I'm looking forward to being more competitive in division two and hopefully we can get back into division one after rebuilding for a while."
East Warrnambool YCW president Luke Smith said the club would have needed an influx of six division one standard cricketers from other sides in order to be competitive next season.
"It's a bit of an emotional thing to step down because we've been fighting to get in there for so long and didn't want to just give up the spot," he said.
"The hard thing is that to attract players and become a destination club, you need to have a division one side. But we got to the point where there's just not enough players of that standard in the region.
"It's not what is used to be 10 to 15 years ago because the numbers just aren't there."
But he said there was a silver lining to the withdrawal.
"Everyone plays cricket to have fun," he said.
"But when you're just getting flogged every week, it takes the enjoyment out of it.
"So the goal now is to put two competitive sides on the park, learn how to win again and get the social side of the club booming."
Association president Gordon McLeod welcomed the change and said there would be benefits for both East Warrnambool YCW and the wider competition.
"There were lots of difficulties with the bye last year that I don't think you should have in division one, so it's alleviated that problem," he said.
"But the WDCA is also fully supportive of East Warrnambool YCW. If the club works hard and has success in the lower grade, there's opportunities to rise again."
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.