GMC out of Melbourne Country Week

By Riverine Herald

GOULBURN Murray Cricket has pulled the plug on fielding a team at Melbourne Country Cricket Week this season.

Scheduled for the last week in February, Melbourne Country Week is the pinnacle competition for Victorian country cricketers.

The GM Cricket board has backed a recommendation from its Melbourne Country Week coach Lawrie Casey to withdraw its team from this year’s series.

GM Cricket president Jason Turner said the decision was based on player availability and an inability to field what could be a competitive side.

‘‘In past seasons we’ve had a lot of quality imports in our Melbourne Country Week teams but there aren’t as many imports in our competition now and a lot aren’t up to the standard of past years,” Turner said.

‘‘There has also been criticism that the local players should be selected in front of the imports but there is also the argument they (imports) have helped numbers and the quality needed to be competitive.

‘‘We will put it (fielding a Melbourne Country Week team) on hold for a year and see what happens but hopefully it will be only for this year.”

Turner said a Goulburn Murray Cricket team competing in Bendigo Country Week this week was a much more suitable date for player availability.

‘‘The school holidays are on at present so we have quite a few schoolteachers who can fit in some games for us this week to help out with numbers,’’ Turner said.