THE long-mooted cricket super league is actually upon us, in its most primitive form.
The Warrnambool and District Cricket Association will have a distinctly different flavour to it this coming summer, with several former Grassmere Cricket Association clubs joining its ranks.
There have been mergers, new identities and clubs entering the region's premier competition on their own two feet.
But what could things look like?
Woodford and Wangoom's new identity - North Warrnambool Eels - was the latest to be unveiled this past Thursday and meant just three Grassmere Cricket Association clubs are still uncertain about the future.
The Standard understands Yambuk is close to finalising a deal with Warrnambool and District Cricket Association club Wesley-CBC while Woolsthorpe and Mailors Flat are weighing up their options and trying to keep their club going.
Promotion and relegation is on the agenda and the WDCA executive is seeking feedback from clubs on the preferred format. Nothing is finalised yet.
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Promotion and relegation - perhaps most famous for its place in England's sporting landscape in both soccer and cricket - certainly has positives and negatives.
It makes every match exciting and removes needless dead-rubber fixtures between bottom teams as the season edges closer to finals.
Every team has something to play for until the last moment. On the flip side, relegation could seriously hamper a club - as it does when teams are relegated from the English Premier League in soccer - and could prove counterproductive to a participation-first model.
How could you structure something like that? It's simple. Have a premier division, have a reserve premier competition and lower divisions below that. Start with 10 teams in the premier division this coming season, and relegate one to the reserve competition.
Promotion and relegation should only be between the top-two divisions, to ensure clubs can't have two sides in any top-tier grade.
Teams with sides in division two as their top team - namely Koroit, Northern Raiders, Nirranda, Hawkesdale, Southern Titans and the relegated team - battle it out to earn a spot back in the top flight in season two of the new system.
It's never going to keep every single club and every single person happy but at least the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association is trying to be proactive. But the game, at least in our region, won't die wondering.
The steps taken in the past few months as Killarney, Purnim, Panmure, Hawkesdale and Grassmere have made tough calls on their future will hold the game in stronger stead moving forward.
With some of the names we've seen - Southern Titans, Northern Raiders, North Warrnambool Eels - there's a nod to the fact clubs realise they must now represent a wider geographical area to remain competitive.
They must appeal to players from a wider base in a way which gives people ownership and connection of the club they play for.
There has been collaboration between the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association and South West Cricket Association on the junior front in previous years and whether that extends to seniors in future will be interesting to see.
A couple of those powerhouse clubs - a Mortlake or a Heytesbury Rebels - would really make a super league a tasty prospect.
Back to the now, though, and while nothing has been signed off or certified, news will surface in coming weeks and months.
The whisper is a promotion and relegation system may be the way the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association leans - but only time will tell.
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