South Australian all-rounder Nathan McAndrew said it was a shame his 'amazing" junior club Oak Flats was not fielding a first grade side in the upcoming South Coast District Cricket competition.
McAndrew credits the Rats for kick-starting his cricket career, which has included representing Australia A in two four-day matches against New Zealand in Queensland just two months ago.
The 30-year-old, who also plays for Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League, said the success he was enjoying now had a lot to do with his time playing for Oak Flats, adding he was disappointed to hear the former South Coast cricket heavyweight club was not fielding a first grade side in the upcoming season.
"It's a real shame," McAndrew said.
"I know last year they were struggling a lot to field a competitive first grade side and at times having to pull people up from third grade to fill in so it's not surprising that they have moved back to second grade if their numbers haven't improved for the upcoming season."
McAndrew, who joined Oak Flats when he was eight-years-old, said the Rats were an amazing club to be a part of.
"I learnt so much from so many of my initial coaches in the juniors and all the way through seniors," he said
"To learn from guys like Neil Terris, Gareth Lamont, Mark Simpson, Matt Faint, Brett Moran, Michael Atkinson, Ryan Chatterton, Kerry Penfold and Steve Nikitaras was something that I don't take for granted.
"I learnt so much about cricket but as a 14 year old playing with grown men I learnt so much outside of the field of play as well."
Oak Flats is one of two cricket clubs in the region that no longer plays top grade cricket, with Helensburgh also pulling out of Cricket Illawarra's first grade competition.
McAndrew said while this was disappointing he thought the game as a whole was still doing well.
"I think the game is in a great place at the moment with something for everyone given the three formats," he said.
"I just think the modern generation have so many other avenues for entertainment without needing to go outside and play a sport to pass the time.
"For me personally social media and smart phones didn't come out until mid to late high school so for me every afternoon was some form of outdoor activity to keep myself entertained."
I think cricket's biggest challenge is the duration and in an ever changing somewhat impatient society that we're becoming - I think the idea of giving up an entire Saturday to play men's grade cricket just doesn't seem as appealing to some as what it did in the past.- Nathan McAndrew
McAndrew added being the premier sport in summer also worked to cricket's advantage.
"Personally I don't think cricket has any competition from rivals sports. We're the only sport that runs through summer and all the football codes run through winter and compete with themselves.
"The Australian men's summer and the Big Bash run unimpeded all through the school holidays which is prime time viewing for families and kids.
"I think cricket's biggest challenge is the duration and in an ever changing somewhat impatient society that we're becoming - I think the idea of giving up an entire Saturday to play men's grade cricket just doesn't seem as appealing to some as what it did in the past."
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