Sunbury into div 2

(Ivan Kemp) 323431_06

Tara Murray

Sunbury’s rise up the Victorian Turf Cricket Association ranks will continue next season, with the club to play in division 2.

The Roar announced last week it had been successful in its bid to fill the vacant spot in division 2.

The club finished runners-up in division 3 last season.

Roar president Brendan Doyle said it was very exciting for the club to have this opportunity.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity,” he said. “The VTCA reached out four or five weeks ago, might have been less.

“Two clubs in division 2 had merged and created a spare position. We thought that they would look at us to go up being the runners-up, but they approached the three other teams that made the top four [in division 3] from last season.

“We didn’t hesitate to look at an opportunity like that.”

Doyle said the reaction from the playing group had been a really positive one and they’d already seen some more interest from players in the area that aren’t at the club at the moment.

The rise to division 3 caps off a fast rise for the club which moved to the VTCA from the Gisborne and District Cricket Association for the 2019-20 season.

Only COVID-19 prevented the Roar from claiming the division 5 title in its first season, before it claimed the division 4 title the following season.

The Roar missed the division 3 finals in 2021-22, before making the grand final last season.

Doyle said they could have only dreamed of this rise when they moved to the competition.

“It’s really not that easy, but we felt that we could get to the third division quickly,” he said.

“We had absolute faith in the squad we had and the standard was set from there.

“To be in division 2, five years after starting in division 5, we could not have asked for more.”

Jace Carton will again coach the side having joined the club last season, with Doyle saying there would be some changes to the squad but plenty of familiar faces will return.

The club is hoping to announce some new signings in the coming weeks.

On top of rising a division, the club is set to have two under-18s teams this season. He said the second side would be more of a development side.

The club fielded an under-18 team on turf for the first time last season and it was a big success.

“It was a great season, but it was a little unfortunate that we had 14-15 players, that come finals we had to play the best team every week,” he said.

“It meant some of the kids that initially began in the squad missed out and I was disappointed for them.

“We think there is enough talent in the region through the GDCA. Players can get day permits so they can play with their own clubs on the Saturday.

“This is a platform for developing kids in the area and giving them the opportunity to play at a higher level.”