Cavaliers? decision leaves Lismore out in the cold
THE Lismore District Cricket Association may have to go it alone in first grade next season after the Casino Cavaliers decided to join Tweed and Ballina associations to form a new 11-team regional competition.
The decision comes only days after Ballina and Tweed announced their merger, killing off the Far North Coast L J Hooker League after 13 seasons.
Lismore had been confident the Cavaliers would join them to form a six-team comp, but Cavs captain Mal Hancock said the club believed bypassing Lismore was the way to go.
"We'd like to give our young guys the best opportunity to showcase their talent and at this point we think this way might be a little stronger competition," he said.
"We talked about it a fair bit at the club and we believe this is the best option for the club and players."
Hancock said the extra travel involved did not faze them ? making a mockery of the Lismore excuse not to join the comp.
"The travel is an inconvenience but it's only an extra half hour than our trips to Lennox, so it wasn't a big issue," he said.
Casino's decision means Easts, Souths, Marist Brothers, Workers and Norths/Goonellabah will have to play each other this season, while Casithe Cavaliers will join Alstonville, Ballina, Tintenbar-East Ballina, Lennox Head, Cudgen, Terranora, South Tweed, Murwillumbah, Pottsville and Brunswick-Byron.
A Far North Coast Cricket Council meeting in Lismore tonight will finalise the changes to the competitions. Hancock said although unsure how the new competition would work, or how strong the Tweed clubs would be, the Cavaliers believed it would be a better comp.
"The main thing is we think it's the best option for us," Hancock said.
"Souths are obviously strong but I've heard Easts will lose a lot of players. Workers and Norths struggled last year but Brothers were good.
"If Easts did struggle it would mean only two strong clubs out of five while in this new comp only half at worst will be weak.
"The Tweed sides are unknown, but it will certainly be more exciting to be playing different players each week." Hancock said Casino's preferred option would have been a 16-team competition ? possibly with two eight-team divisions.
But with LDCA clubs refusing to join, Hancock said his club was happy to leave them to it.
"I think possibly they're being a little shortsighted," he said. "The guys who are there making the decisions are like myself, and our best years are behind us, but I don't think they're looking to the future or for the best opportunity. We're confident this is the best way forward."