Mortlake will officially call the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association home next season, with the Cats' bid to switch competitions approved by the WDCA board on Monday night.
The Cats have long been one of the powerhouse clubs of South West Cricket, having not missed division one finals in 15 years and winning half-a-dozen premierships in that time. The club has also recently had a turf pitch installed at D.C. Farran Oval and is equipped to host night cricket after a $500,000 lighting upgrade.
The club will bring in senior men, women and all junior sides to the WDCA for the upcoming season.
WDCA chairman Gordon McLeod confirmed the club would enter the competition in 2022-23 after Monday's board meeting and said the Cats were going to significantly strengthen the association.
"They're a good, strong club with great facilities," he told The Standard.
"They're set-up with their junior program. It stacks up well with us and we believe they'll be beneficial to the WDCA long-term."
McLeod said while the Cats were eager to join the division one ranks - which would fill a bye formed following Northern Raiders' elevation to the top grade - discussions were still ongoing.
"It's still to be determined and we will consult with the other member clubs before any decision is made on that," he said.
Mortlake president Jimmy Tarbolton described the move as "exciting" for the club.
"It's been a long process getting the club to where it is now to be comfortable in making the move to the WDCA," he said.
"It's really exciting. It's something we've talked about internally but the option became a reality this year with the potential opening in division one.
"For us, it's about shoring up our future and making sure we've got a solid junior structure and making sure our kids are playing the highest standard they can.
"We look forward to taking that next step up and challenging ourselves."
He confirmed the Cats were keen to join division one.
"As far as what divisions we'll be playing in, we're not sure yet but we've made an application (to join division one)," he said.
"We want to play division one but the board has to assess that."
Tarbolton said joining the association could also pave the way for the club to enhance their recruitment process.
"We think it could open up some more doors," he said.
"We've gone hard with recruiting the last few years but we haven't been able to make much of an impact but we seem to be getting more positive responses with the move on the cards."
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