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Newcastle cricket bodies weigh up amalgamation

ALL cricket in Newcastle soon could be controlled by one governing body with a full-time general manager if a proposed amalgamation of associations is accepted.
Nanjing Night Net

A meeting will be held in February to discuss a proposal to merge the Newcastle District Cricket Association (NDCA), Newcastle City and Suburban Cricket (C&S), their respective umpires bodies and the Newcastle Junior Cricket Association (NJCA) under one administrative umbrella.

The aim is to streamline administration and reduce the duplicity of roles.

All five associations form the Newcastle cricket zone and meet regularly. However, no decisions are made at zone level and the power lies in the separate associations.

Under the proposal, an eight-person Newcastle Cricket board of directors would be elected.

The board would hire a full-time general manager and game development officer to run the competitions, generate sponsorship and liaise with government.

Subcommittees for district cricket, juniors, C&S, umpires, the judiciary and representative cricket will operate but will answer to the board.

District and C&S have always operated separately and historically the relationship between the associations has been tense.

But, under their current committees, the two associations have formed a working relationship and many district clubs have also developed links with C&S outfits.

‘‘I think we all agree it’s a fairly convoluted system at the moment, having multiple associations with multiple secretaries and multiple presidents and judiciaries,’’ NDCA chairman Paul Marjoribanks said.

‘‘Everything is duplicated and triplicated, and I think we need to simplify it.’’

The NDCA, C&S and the juniors pay honorariums to committee members for work and out-of-pocket expenses.

Marjoribanks said that money, plus grants from Cricket NSW, could finance the general manager’s position.

‘‘If somebody was dedicated to just fostering cricket with sponsors, the media, our governments bodies, then it’s just a one-touch point for Newcastle cricket,’’ he said.

‘‘At the moment it’s volunteers doing the best they can outside their normal jobs.’’

Other major sporting codes in Newcastle such as rugby league, rugby union, AFL, basketball and football have long paid general managers to operate their competitions.

C&S registrar Gary Stuart is in favour of the proposal but admits there will be several obstacles to overcome, including costs and the conservatism of some board members.

Stuart said he would invite Marjoribanks to address the C&S committee’s monthly meeting on January 20 to explain the proposal in greater detail.

‘‘For C&S it will all come down to cost and what they will get out of it for an increased cost,’’ Stuart said.

‘‘That, I think, will be the stumbling block C&S-wise as 70per cent are just pub teams.

‘‘They pay their $100 a year and their pub picks up the rest.

‘‘If there’s an increase, they will be asking questions about why.’’

Three seasons ago, Newcastle Junior Cricket Association employed a part-time administrator in Sharyn Beck.

Secretary Jason McKendry said the appointment had helped boost playing numbers and created new midweek competitions.

‘‘The juniors do have a part-time administrator working for us, and while I know the senior bodies pay honorariums, at the end of the day the game is still run by volunteers,’’ McKendry said.

‘‘In the modern world realistically we’re probably not doing the best for the game in the region by not having a management structure through the zone to best look after the game.’’

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