Over the last five years, player and team numbers have dropped off significantly for Hastings cricket.
With the first ball of the season now being bowled in just over a week, now is as good of a time as any to ask the question - how is cricket shaping up?
Dwindling player numbers are the result of a far greater problem surrounding community cricket that currently sees the sport in crisis and left administrators scratching their heads on how to fix it.
Part of the solution is asking Cricket NSW for more help where they would put more of a focus on country (or regional) cricket and less on the metropolitan areas.
That doesn't mean the metropolitan areas, however, are forgotten about altogether because that would be ridiculous and fraught with danger.
However, cricket isn't alone. Rugby league and rugby union faced similar problems in the winter months.
But back onto cricket and the local league is surviving, but only just.
How good would it be if top-line players such as Mid-North Coast products Nick Larkin and Jono Cook occasionally returned to the region instead of playing second eleven cricket for New South Wales?
Obviously Larkin and Cook will have commitments to the Big Bash League throughout the upcoming summer, but wherever they could make a guest appearance or two would help in a small way.
Imagine how much of a thrill the kids (both young at heart and in age) would get from playing either with or against them?
Everyone relates better to people they see on the television.
Once you fix country cricket you'll start to fix every other form of cricket and there's got to be more support from Cricket NSW in terms of helping the regions promote the game.
Macleay and Hastings cricket associations will join forces this summer which will see a first grade competition consist of up to nine teams.
It's a step in the right direction, but if that didn't happen, the future didn't look too bright for cricket in the Hastings or the Macleay.
As a player myself, when you start to line up and play against the same opposition and people week after week, it becomes tedious and boring.
The merger (if that's what you want to call it) between the two associations is a step forward.
It's believed half a dozen Macleay young guns including Cooper Petterson were strongly considering a move to Newcastle because that's where the challenge was.
Now, they're staying put and that can only help improve the quality of competition locally, even if it will only be at first-grade level.
It's a start.
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