Stingrays will wait for GCA jump

April 28, 2022 BY

Surfcoast Stingrays president Josh Carey says the club will focus on improving player depth and its training facilities before rising to the GCA. Photo: BILLY HIGIGNS

RESURGENT cricket club Surfcoast Stingrays has opted against moving up to the new Geelong Cricket Association fourth division next season and will instead focus on deepening its roots in north Torquay.

The club had been in discussions in the past year with the GCA about a promotion for the new competition’s first season in 2022-23, as the association sought new clubs to join its top-tier ranks for the expansion.

But the Stingrays decided earlier this month to pull out of the race for a GCA4 slot so it can address concerns regarding player retention and facilities.

“For some clubs, GCA4 isn’t really a big thing. For us, with where we’ve come from, it’s going to be huge when make that jump so we want to do it at the right time,” club president Josh Carey said.

“It might be a bit slower than what some of the boys want, but we want to make sure that once we’re up, we’re up there for good.”

Carey said the club committee had positive discussions with the association about a step-up in coming seasons.

Surfcoast Stingrays is the reincarnation of Aireys Inlet Cricket Club, after shifting to Torquay in 2017 to keep the club alive.

Its Firsts side reached a semi-final in the tier below GCA level this year, but wants to improve results in lower grades before advancing to the next competition.

Meanwhile, a push for new cricket nets at the club’s home of Banyul-Warri Fields has received a boost from $10,000 of federal funding.

The Stingrays secured the grant through Corangamite MP Libby Coker’s electorate office, and will put the money towards developing a plan for new training nets at the sports precinct.

The club currently trains at Armstrong Creek’s facilities, which has limited its potential growth into junior and women’s cricket.

“If we could get the planning and everything done then we can make that into a viable project, and between us and Surf Coast Shire council we can look at proper funding to get this underway. So it’s looking positive,” Carey said.

The council is currently reviewing its masterplan for the sports precinct.

Current plans include future cricket nets, and the council said in February it expected nets to be a priority in the updated strategy, which is due in June.