FEARS that junior cricket in Albany could be discontinued have been all but laid to rest with a proposed merger of the sport’s junior and senior representative bodies likely to go ahead.
Committee members from the Albany Junior Cricket Association (AJCA) and the Albany Cricket Association (ACA) are set to convene for a special resolution meeting on July 22 to discuss the prospect of amalgamating into one organisation.
The future of the junior sport was thrown into doubt in mid June after the AJCA failed to find volunteers to replace its outgoing executive committee (‘Cricket future in doubt’, 20 June).
Sport and Recreation Consultant Kim Buttfield, who has been employed by the Western Australia Cricket Association to conduct a review of the sport in the Great Southern, said the talk of a merger came at a fortunate time.
“The AJCA had been struggling to find volunteers … and the senior association to a lesser degree was also struggling just finding people to step up into those governance roles,” she said.
“It’s just taken a while for everyone to come together to realise this is actually a great opportunity to bring the two groups together.”
Ms Buttfield said she was “very certain” the merger would proceed, adding the two bodies would work to finalise it before the start of the next season of junior cricket in September or October.
“The WACA is very keen to support them. They are going to be providing some financial support as well as some governance guidance,” she said.
“Hopefully everything will flow fairly smoothly.”
ACA President Terry Eaton said the upcoming discussions would provide clarity about the pathways available to local junior and senior players.
“At the moment people don’t know whether they should be in junior or in senior or how to go about getting from one to the other,” Mr Eaton said.
“That’s why we need a powerful board to direct cricket overall and go from there. I think at the end what we need is a good outcome for cricket.”
He added that while decisions about the exact structure of a new organisation were “still in the melting pot,” he expected it to consist of a single executive with a couple of portfolios for junior cricket.
“I think where they’re heading is towards a combined executive that would oversee the organisation and then sitting underneath that would be two operational arms, one for the juniors and one for the seniors,” Ms Buttfield said.
“At the end of it everyone’s really wanting the same thing, to grow cricket and to continue to support a great game that’s pretty important in our community.”
Outgoing AJCA President Jackie Boyce was contacted for comment.