Originally written by DEAN MILLARD
PORTLAND District Cricket Association secretary Ian Lewis has flagged a possible change to the board of the PDCA, saying a state of “non-interest” was apparent among some members of the current executive.
Lewis said the current system lent itself to a culture of parochialism from club representatives who often put the needs and wants of their own club ahead of the bigger picture.
“Like a lot of associations are doing now, the Warrnambool District are the closest one to us who are, they have gone past the club system where club representatives in the past have considered their own club’s activities or needs or wants ahead of the whole picture,” Lewis said.
“I have been doing this since 1982-83, working as a secretary and assistant secretary.
“I have noticed the executive participation by clubs have gone right down to levels which I would say border on non-interest.
Lewis’ comments come after almost half of the club representatives failed to attend an association meeting last week; something that he says is becoming a far too common occurrence.
“It started a few years ago when we had members appointed but we would never see them.
“It is happening now, where they don’t attend regular meetings.
“Last Wednesday was a pretty important meeting, and three clubs were not represented.
“That is three out of seven, which is nearly 50 percent of the clubs, who were not represented, which I thought was pretty ordinary.
“I know some of them have good excuses and others don’t, but in two of those examples those club have not been represented for the last two or three meetings.
“To me that shows a lack of interest from the person supposedly representing the club.”
Lewis proposed at that meeting that the association look to radically change the way its board is formed to bring it into line with more successful, larger associations such as the Warrnambool District Cricket Association, where it is actually an independent board and not club delegates in charge of the direction of the association.
Lewis said this would take a change to the constitution at the annual general meeting, which he hoped to get through before the start of next season.
“The idea I had was to have one person elected from each club, which would give you seven, and they between them elect their president, vice president secretary and so on from within that.
“I have gone away and since thought, hold on, I have just been at a meeting where three of those clubs have not turned up or apologised.
“Does that mean three of those clubs are not interested?
“What about if there is someone out there who is interested but is not involved in any one particular club?
“So I have changed my opinion a little bit.”
Lewis is suggesting a change to a five-person board elected from interested persons who may or may not be associated with PDCA clubs who would serve for a term of three years.
Each member of the board would be in charge of a specific aspect, for example grounds, or marketing, or country week, making it easier for clubs to get in touch with and get direct feed back from the person in charge of that area and alleviating the burden currently on the secretary and president’s positions.
Lewis said the board could also co-opt people with specific skills onto the executive if it were to benefit the association.
“The way I see it if you think of an octopus, the board of management would be the head with all these arms going out to grab people who can add something to the association.
“That is how I see the board operating, a bit more tighter control from people who actually want to be on it, not people who are there because they have a responsibility.
“We have guys there who don’t say anything, they don’t contribute, we have guys there who might say something once every three meetings if their club tells them to.
“We don’t want them.”
Lewis said something had to be done to arrest the continuing slide in both the standard and the participation levels of the PDCA, adding that he believed the association could be down to just one senior grade within five years’ time.
“I am very worried, I really am, that in another five years we will be down to one grade of cricket.
“We will have juniors and one grade of senior, that is how bad it is going.
“We have one team on top in A grade, and their B grade has forfeited one week and is struggling to get players for the following game.
“We have lots of kids, but the team we took to Horsham was just so far below standard it was not funny.
“You might have a few years when the population growth is lower than normal, so you have less kids coming through.
“Where I am leading to with that is those young kids are not going to be capable of filling up B grade sides, because the standard is poor.
“Remember, not many people come in and out of the town any more, we are not getting new blood in all the time.
“How we do that, I don’t know, so we need to get someone who is really committed to cricket who really wants to go on, because we have a lot of outside pressures in other sports and shift work, with three companies now employing shift workers, that are impacting on our game.”
Lewis said the next AGM, which would likely be held in either June or July, would almost certainly be one of the most important the association had had and that all concerned parties should get along and show some interest in the future of the association.
“The decision is in the association members’ hands.”