A time-honoured regional cricket competition is set for a return in February 2023, with the Victorian Country Cricket League (VCCL) preparing to bring back the historic Melbourne Country Week (MCW).
First staged in 1922, MCW has long been considered the pinnacle competition for regional-based players but has not been played since the 2019-20 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
VCCL president Kelvin White told The Standard there was a great appetite to bring back the competition, which is played across three divisions.
It has been proposed the competition will begin on Monday, February 13 with a 100-year celebration match to be played the day prior between Ballarat and Hamilton at Eastern Oval in Ballarat.
"We're looking forward to getting as many associations together as possible to take part in what will be a successful celebration of the 100th year, even though it is slightly out of date," he said.
"We've been hanging on and hoping the ducks would align and we'd be able to do it. All going well, that's what we're going to do.
"There's a good number of associations that have indicated they'll be participating and some are still considering it and the decisions haven't been helped by the floods in the northern parts of Victoria, so we won't put a lot of pressure on them."
White said the conversations around the structure of the divisions would take place soon to see exactly how it'll look but indicated a vast majority of associations were committed to playing the carnival.
"We'll hopefully get all the associations together for a forum in the next fortnight to see how it'll all look," he said.
He added the Warrnambool and District, Hamilton and District and Portland and District associations had indicated an interest to participate, while South West Cricket was still weighing up its involvement but was considered likely to return.
WDCA chairperson Gordon McLeod said it was great for cricket to have MCW return and showcase the very best of regional cricket.
"We're looking forward to it and it's a great challenge for us to get a good team together and perform really well," he said.
"We felt we had a lot of support from the players and the board believes it's the right thing to do to participate - we've got a management structure in place led by Jason Mungean to facilitate that."
The Warrnambool and District association competed in division two in the 2019-20 edition, while Hamilton and District and South West Cricket both competed in division three.
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