Mortlake Cricket Club is planning to switch leagues for the upcoming season.
The Cats - a South West Cricket powerhouse - voted to join the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association at a special meeting on Wednesday night.
Mortlake president Jimmy Tarbolton and current captain Todd Robertson said members had thrown their support behind a potential move and the application process would now take place.
Both said the Cats would like to field a division one team, filling a bye which formed following Northern Raiders' elevation to the top grade in the off-season.
"It is going to be a huge challenge and obviously it's still got to go through protocols of officially applying to join the league," Robertson said.
"But initial talks with the league have been very positive and they have been very positive about our facilities, junior structure and our committee.
"The feeling is quite good between the two parties."
Tarbolton said the process started in March when he spoke to the Warrnambool and District association about its women's team joining for the 2022-23 summer.
He said the conversation progressed naturally about the Cats' future plans.
"I am very excited for what's ahead. There will be a lot of challenges that come with it but given Mortlake Cricket Club's strengths I reckon we'll be able to deal with the challenges," he said.
"We have had sustained success in South West Cricket - I think we have made finals for the last 15 years and won six premierships and we're looking to test ourselves against the best Warrnambool has and see how we stack up.
"Also, the junior structures are really good down there and we've been sending our kids for the last couple of years and they've performed quite well.
"Being able to see the kids come through and play higher cricket is exciting for our senior competition as well."
Tarbolton said Mortlake's younger generation were supporters of the potential switch.
"The club is united and excited on the way forward," he said.
"The positive thing for me (at the vote) was it was the younger people in the room who really wanted this and they are the future of the club. They have made their voices loud and clear.
"As a club we support that, we think it's a really good move."
Robertson said the Cats, who have a turf pitch and high-quality lighting at D.C Farran Oval, were looking at long-term stability.
"Our main focus was shoring up our future. The most important thing is the kids and this younger core group of guys we have playing at the moment and playing at the best level they can," he said.
"Two-day cricket was appealing for a lot of our cricketers as well."
Robertson said the members' vote was the culmination of hard work to that point.
"There's been a fair bit of work behind the scenes - Jimmy (Tarbolton), our president, has put in a power of work," he said.
"You don't want to leave any stone un-turned when you're making a huge decision for the future of your club.
"But the Warrnambool and District league has only gone from strength-to-strength the past couple of seasons so we see it as a great opportunity."
WDCA chairperson Gordon McLeod said Mortlake would need to apply for affiliation and any decision would be made by the board after the association's AGM in late June.
He said the association was pleased clubs wanted to join its ranks.
"They are fairly close neighbours to this area - it's only half an hour away from the heart of Warrnambool," he said.
"There is a women's team from Mortlake which is going to play irrespective of if they chose to come as a club and they have had junior teams playing in our competition with Cobden the last couple of seasons.
"It's been building over the past couple of seasons."
Mortlake has enjoyed sustained success in South West Cricket during the past decade, being the association's powerhouse club and taking out the rich Sungold Twenty20 competition.
The club has also recently installed a turf pitch and has excellent lighting at D. C. Farran Oval.
Almost $500,000 of lighting upgrades, completed in mid-May, mean the venue meets Victorian Football League standards and can facilitate night cricket.
At the time Mortlake Recreation Reserve committee of management committee member Noel McConnell said the lights were turned on for the first time that week to focus and position lighting across the ground.
"The lighting has been very poor for a considerable amount of time and whilst it was OK for football training, and the like, in days gone by, it's no longer suitable," he said.
The project to replace the lights cost $420,000 and was partly funded by a federal government COVID-19 stimulus package ($200,000), and $40,000 each from local philanthropic trusts, Moyne Shire Council and user groups including football and cricket clubs.
"It provides lighting of 200 lux which is suitable for regional night-time competitions and it's also suitable for night cricket," Mr McConnell said.
"We couldn't host either of those things, it was hard enough to provide enough lighting for football training, let alone a match."
The recent $10.7 million upgrade to Warrnambool's Reid Oval was scheduled to be 200 lux, but once completed it was lifted to 300 lux.
Merrivale has hosted twilight/night T20 games with 200 lux lighting.
"Night cricket comes on board and the Mortlake Cricket Club's been pretty successful in the past and they're looking forward to day-night games," Mr McConnell said.
The project will complement the reserve's state-of-the-art indoor training facility.
"We also get a lot of support from the indoor cricket training facility so night cricket will augment that capacity of the indoor facility," Mr McConnell said at the time.
The facility's main users are the Terang Mortlake Football Netball Club and the Mortlake Cricket Club, as well as some community groups.
The lights followed the newly installed five turf wicket at the oval in April at a cost of about $100,000 which Mr McConnell said would be used for the upcoming cricket season.
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