Infusion of new blood

Central Gippsland Cricket Association legend Wayne Mills has named bolstering the first grade competition as a key objective after taking on the league’s presidency.

Mills said he decided to take on the position after former president Tony Flynn stepped down in an effort to support the association.

“It’s hard for people from the club, while they’re still playing and running clubs, to go on the board and do the work,” he said.

“It’s mostly to help the league out and take a bit of the pressure off clubs trying to get people onto the board.”

Mills had served as the association’s senior vice president for three years before taking on the presidency.

He said using the junior competitions to improve the standard of senior cricket was a priority.

“My main goal is to strengthen the league a bit and get back to eight teams in A grade,” Mills said.

“For the clubs to strengthen it’s about rebuilding and we’ve got to get into the schools – we’ve got to build up from the under 12s.”

Last year the association had 14 under 12s teams and Mills said he was confident of having the same numbers again this season.

He said quality coaching was the key to retaining players and highlighted the CGCA’s Peter Siddle Development Squad.

“They’re coached separately for the 12 months (they’re in the squad),” Mills said.

“Hopefully one day if they’re good enough they can go down to Melbourne and have a crack as well.”

The veteran bowler has a long history in the competition.

He is fifth on the CGCA’s all-time wicket taker tally, with 841 wickets and was part of a record 148-run 10th wicket stand for Morwell against Latrobe in 1990/91.

Mills’ ascension to the presidency comes at an interesting time for the association, which last year had perennial finalists Latrobe considering a move to the neighbouring Traralgon and District Cricket Association.

He said it was important the club remained in the CGCA.

“It came as a shock last year when I heard when they wanted to go,” Mills said.”

Following a club meeting Latrobe decided to stay in the association and Mills said he was in regular contact with the club.

“I went to their AGM this year and sat down and talked to them,” he said.

“If things are going wrong we need to sit down early and talk about it before it gets to that stage.

“We definitely don’t want to lose them.”

Mills’ decision to assume the presidency means former junior vice-president John Wirz has been appointed senior vice-president.

Trafalgar’s Craig White is now the association’s junior vice president and Sarah Prime has become association secretary.

Mills said he welcomed the infusion of new blood.

“It gives you new ideas and stuff seems to be getting back to the clubs quicker this year now we’ve settled in the last month,” he said.

“We’re all learning our new positions and the clubs have been pretty patient about it, which is good.”