Family Cricket Club were forced to forfeit their game against Wyangle on Saturday when only seven players were available for their round seven Elders Cup fixture.
Family skipper Caleb Lindley-Kell explained that the forfeit came about because of a tough weekend compounded by the rare circumstance where a half dozen players were away and unavailable to play.
Still, the forfeit does follow on from a tough couple of years for Family, and when asked about the future of the club in both the Gundagai District Cricket Association (GDCA) and the Elders Cup, Lindley-Kell was more optimistic than confident.
“To be honest mate, I’m not sure,” Lindley-Kell said.
“We’re hoping to bring more players into both Gundagai teams via our 20/20 (Hogan Cup) competition. I think we’re all hoping it’s a success.”
The new and improved Hogan Cup will feature both traditional GDCA teams, Family and Lotts, along with new teams, Tigers and Scorpions.
The four-week Friday night T20 competition that hits off on January 14 and runs through to February 4, has already generated a lot of interest, and Lindley-Kell is hopeful that a few new players will be attracted to the sport and to Family Cricket Club.
“We just want to try and get some guys playing cricket again,” Lindley-Kell said.
“Michael Murphy has put a lot of effort into it and we’re hoping to get some new faces, and then hopefully that turns into players playing the 40-over comp, which is what we all would like to see.”
Family’s demise wouldn’t just hurt the GDCA, with Lindley-Kell explaining the Elders Cup was better for having at least two Gundagai clubs competing each season.
“It’s very important to address the problem, because if it does end up going to one team, you won’t see two teams in Gundagai for at least 10 years,” Lindley-Kell said.
“It’s good for the comp too, because teams from Coolac, Tumut and Adelong would have more access to the turf wicket in Gundagai with two teams instead of just one game against one Gundagai team.”
As far as finishing the 2021/22 Elders Cup season goes, Lindley-Kell was confident that his side would continue to take the field each week.
“Most certainly. We always have to stay positive that things will turn around,” Lindley-Kell said.
GDCA Secretary, Michael Murphy, stressed the importance of Family maintaining their place in the Elders Cup competition, and the GDCA growing both the Family and Lotts cricket clubs.
“I think it’s crucial that Family remain in the competition, and the growth of both Gundagai teams has always been part of our plans,” Murphy said.
“We would like to see Lotts and Family build strong sides, and we think the Hogan Cup is a way of generating interest in cricket again.”
The new-look T20 Hogan Cup has already attracted plenty of local attention, along with new and returning players to the sport ahead of their January start date, and Murphy believed a fun and action-packed Friday night of cricket was just what was needed to grow the sport locally.
“We are looking at the Hogan Cup 20/20 format as a way of getting people talking about cricket in Gundagai,” Murphy said.
“We want people to come down and watch cricket in a social atmosphere, watch entertaining games and we think long term, it will benefit both formats and Gundagai cricket.”
With a tough Elders Cup season ahead of them, Murphy praised the work of Lindley-Kell in keeping Family afloat.
“Caleb has been a stalwart for Gundagai cricket,” Murphy said.
“He has been enormous and worked so hard at maintaining a Family side and he is one of the crucial elements of cricket in our town and the committee appreciates all the work he does.”
Family will look to get back on track on Saturday when visiting Tumut when taking on the Golfie Lippers on The Bull Paddock turf wicket.