While interest in country cricket has been steadily declining over the past decade, a group of dedicated sport lovers are looking to reverse the trend by reforming the Hepburn Cricket Club.
The outfit last took to the pitch back in the 2010/11 season as part of the now-disbanded Daylesford District Cricket Association, which broke up at the end of the following summer.
Like Hepburn, several other clubs in the country league were forced to pull out due to dwindling numbers.
There’s a lot of people in the community who love the game but have nowhere to play at the moment.
The reformed club will boast an under-16 side and a senior outfit, which will likely feature in the Castlemaine and District Cricket Association’s B-Grade competition, the third tier division.
Daylesford Cricket Club committee member Lindsay Olver said the club, which would be closely linked to the existing football club, aimed to re-establish a junior pathway for the region’s athletes.
“There’s a lot of people in the community who love the game but have nowhere to play at the moment,” Mr Olver said.
“A lot of it’s based around the junior base at the Hepburn Footy Club and we will have seven or eight players who are in the under-18 football side.
“It will be a great chance for those junior footballers to stick together over summer.”
In order to join a competition the reformed club is required to hold a general meeting where an official constitution is drafted and a committee is voted in.
In August a motion will be moved at the CDCA annual meeting for Hepburn to officially join the association.
CDCA secretary Ian Garsed said while the group still had plenty of work to do before being officially appointed to the league, “they’re going about it the right way”.
“So far they’ve ticked all the boxes in showing they have a list of players and proof they can play on a ground,” Mr Garsed said.
“We’re completely encouraging of Hepburn’s bid to join the competition and we 100 per cent support anyone who wants to restart a club or start a new organisation provided it’s done in the right way.”
The move comes during a tough period for country cricket in the Central Highlands region, with the Pyrenees Cricket Association folding at the end of the 2016/17 season following a number of club withdrawals.
The CDCA is also currently two clubs short of last season after both Kyneton and Malmsbury opted to move over to the Gisborne competition.