By Nick Creely
St Brigid’s/St Louis Cricket Club has officially departed the Dandenong District Cricket Association, joining the ever-growing Cricket Southern Bayside competition in a bid to help continue growing the club into the future.
The Saints – who participated in Turf 2 last season and stunned all in its wake to claim its first DDCA Twenty20 title – is the second club to have left the DDCA this off-season, after powerhouse local club Mordialloc also opted to join Southern Bayside.
Saints president Noel Fitzgibbon said that the decision was in the best interests for the club moving forward, and hopes to forge new rivalries locally.
“We wanted a new direction, and wanted to take the club locally, and we’ll benefit with more juniors coming through and playing,” he said.
“We’ll get more sponsors for the club, so not only we’ll get more juniors and playing coming through, it’ll be beneficial for our sponsors as well.
“It’ll certainly help rekindle a few rivalries from the past, playing the Aspendale and Mentone’s of the world.”
While starting to develop into a strong club in the DDCA after claiming a stunning Twenty20 premiership, Fitzgibbon said that despite some recent success, the move had been spoken about for a long while now.
“We’ve been talking to Southern Bayside for more than a year now, and as a committee, you need to explore all avenues and what’s beneficial for the club,” he said.
“It was (Twenty20 premiership) a great icing on the cake for our time in the DDCA.”
And while moving away from the DDCA, Fitzgibbon said the club’s long-running association with the competition will be looked on with great positivity and pride. But they simply couldn’t sustain themselves long-term in their situation.
“The DDCA is a very professionally run competition, and I’ve said that in the past, it’s more the location, and travelling out to the City of Dandenong, Casey, the Berwicks and Beaconsfields of the world, it’s just too far for these kids coming through the lower grades,” he said.
“We’re very proud (of the time in the DDCA) – the club continues to grow. We’ve got 13 junior sides and they are starting to filter through to the senior grades.
“We were probably on the cusp of jumping up a grade or getting better because of the youth coming through.
“The DDCA’s been great for us, and we’re happy with our time there, but we’ve been listening to our members, and they’ve sort of indicated that they preferred to play locally.”
With the Saints’ departure from the DDCA, the make-up of the Turf 1 and 2 grades will now need to potentially be re-jigged, with the potential for St Mary’s going to Turf 2 and Mordialloc leaving the competition paving the way for Narre South and Narre North to go into Turf 1, while the Saints’ departure could see Dandenong West stay in Turf 2, with Lyndale set to jump up from Turf 3.