The future of the proud Bulls from Cowtown hangs in the balance this week, following the failure of the club to field a single team in last weekend's opening round of Busselton-Margaret River Cricket Association 2020-21 season fixtures.
Cowaramup were due to host YOBS in B-Grade on Saturday, but forfeited the game on Thursday night after being unable to find enough players. This came despite their being no C-Grade games fixtured last weekend either.
A crisis meeting was due to be held last night (ed: Tuesday night) at Cowaramup to determine the future of the club. The fate of the club will also depend on the turnout at training tomorrow night (ed: Thursday) at the Cowaramup Oval.
Cowaramup Cricket Club competed in the old Margaret River Cricket Association until the early 1970s before folding when the Margaret River association merged with the Busselton association in 1975. The current version of the Cowaramup Cricket Club was founded in 1997 by Mal Penfold and Richard Plunkett, and went on to field teams in A, B and C grade for 20 years.
The highlight for Cowaramup was winning the A-Grade premiership in 2016-17 - only three years ago - with Sri Lankan imports Kavy de Silva and Buddhika Sanjeewa playing dominant roles in the competition, along with a third import, James Stanistreet from England.
Hard times have befallen Cowaramup since then. They dropped a side two years ago when they fielded only A and C-grade teams in the competition, took another step further back last season by fielding only B and C grade, and are now struggling to maintain that commitment for the new 2020-21 season.
In the two B-grade games which were held in the opening round on Saturday, St Marys defeated Dunsborough at Dunsborough, while Margaret River Hawks proved too strong for Vasse at the Vasse Playing Fields.
Batting first at Dunsborough, Saints amassed the fine score of 7-274 from 45 overs, with all nine batsmen reaching double figures, the best of them being Jamie La Motte (68) and Ash Leaney (55 not out off only 63 balls).
Ray Pes with 2-32 and Richard Norrish with 2-57 were the most successful bowlers for Dunsborough, who responded with 188 all out from 42 overs.
Young opener Alex Cooke dominated the batting for Dunsborough with a fine knock of 83, being unlucky not to reach three figures.
Kye Barrow (4-47) and skipper Peter Grygorcewicz, with a typically economical 2-8 off seven overs, led the bowling for Saints, with Ben Crain also taking two wickets for the victors.
At the Vasse Playing Fields, Margaret River Hawks won the toss and batted first, compiling 212 all out from 44 overs with quality left-hander Shane Joyce (76) getting the side off to a good start.
First-gamer Tom McDonald (37) showed his immediate value to Hawks when he combined with Brad Kelly (43) with a 58-run stand for the sixth wicket to bump up the total.
Tom Perks captured great figures of 5-32 with his right-arm floaters to lead the bowling for Vasse, who had no fewer than eight fielders take part in the dismissals.
Chasing 213 for victory, Vasse were kept in the game throughout their reply thanks to a fine hand of 83 not out from Miles Darragh, and a useful 37 from club veteran Sam Shepherd.
Eventually Vasse finished with 8-191 from their 45 overs to succumb by the respectable margin of 23 runs.
New skipper Grant Garstone (3-26) and Mitchell Payne (3-49) shared the bowling honours for Hawks.
C-Grade cricket gets under way this Saturday with Nannup at home to Dunsborough and St Marys at home to Cowaramup. The third C-Grade game of the opening round is scheduled to be played on Sunday, October 18 (due to ground shortages), with Vasse hosting Margaret River Hawks.
After the bye for all teams on October 24 due to the AFL Grand Final, A-Grade will get under way on October 31.
In other cricket news, plans to hold a delayed 2019-20 season windup on AFL Grand Final day have been shelved by the committee of the Busselton-Margaret River Cricket Association.