GRASSMERE Cricket Association is weighing up its future and is urging clubs to plan ahead to shore up their long-term survival.
President Rhys Dews told The Standard the executive had asked clubs to consider their plans and would have further discussions at the association's annual general meeting next month.
It came after Grassmere Cricket Association powerhouse Panmure on Sunday voted to merge with Warrnambool and District Cricket Association outfit Allansford.
The merged club will feature in the WDCA but hopes to host fixtures at Panmure Recreation Reserve and maintain joint honour boards.
I think we've got to take a serious look after this year as to where we go.Rhys Dews
"Over the last six months we've asked clubs to look at where they're at and where they see themselves going in the future," Dews said.
"I think we've got to take a serious look after this year as to where we go.
"Cricket is sort of struggling - it's not just us - I'm sure Portland and the South West are having the same sort of issues.
"Warrnambool is probably lucky they have a school around a lot of the clubs (for junior players). That makes a huge difference.
"It's hard when your clubs are in small, rural towns. We'll take a good look and ask our clubs to look at where they see themselves in five years." Dews said the association was keen to see its clubs prosper into the future.
"The last thing we want is for clubs to fold," he said.
"I think we've been a tight competition for a few years now.
"I think we want to see each other do well and things like mergers are not out of the ordinary, or out of the blue."
Dews said the association was committed to starting in its usual October timeslot this summer.
"Depending on things like coronavirus and things we're committed to getting started hopefully on time," he said.
Warrnambool and District Cricket Association chairman Gordon McLeod said his executive would maintain close contact with Allansford and Panmure as they transitioned to a merged entity.
He said any club was "most welcome" to join the association's ranks.
"We don't want people and clubs to disappear from cricket," McLeod said.
"If there's an opportunity in our structure to accommodate a club we're certainly open to that.
"We just want clubs and people to be playing cricket."
McLeod was open to Allansford-Panmure fielding a second division two side and playing some fixtures in Panmure.
He said details and formalities would be finalised in coming weeks.
"It seems like the best outcome for both clubs. They're not too far away from each other as it is," McLeod said.
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