GCA - Grampians Cricket Association has been reduced to having six teams in A grade after Swifts/Great Western declined the opportunity to have two teams in the top tier competition, while Navarre has dropped back to B grade.
The Stawell Times-News reported last Tuesday that there was to be two Swifts/Great Western teams in A grade, with its reigning premier B grade side being promoted.
This would have been the first time in the history of the GCA that two teams from the one club had entries in the number one grade.
GCA president, Anthony Martin said the decision was forced upon the executive because of the desire to have an eight team premier division after St Andrews dropped back to B grade last week.
However, Swifts/Great Western was under the impression that it was just an Association invitation and had not been aware of any decision being formally made.
The Combine board put its case forward at a meeting with the Association executive last Wednesday night.
Swifts/Great Western secretary, Marc Brilliant, was pleased with the result.
"We obviously had concerns about having two sides in the one division," Mr Brilliant said.
"There were three major concerns. One, we don't have enough players to fill two A grade squads and two was the concern on the integrity of the competition having two sides in it.
"The third was that we have young kids as well as older people, retired A grade players playing B grade.
"These kids are 13, 14, 15 years old and they are not ready for that competition."
Mr Brilliant praised the Grampians Cricket Association executive for the way it handled Wednesday's meeting.
"The GCA were accommodating to what our points were," he said.
"The invitation was there for us to do it and we declined. There was a bit of confusion and miscommunication, but it all worked out and they were happy with our points.
"I could understand doing something like this (having two teams in the one competition) in C grade perhaps, but being the premier competition, there were going to be concerns."
Lack of player numbers was something Mr Brilliant highlighted.
"One of people's misconceptions is that we have an abundance of players and that is not the case," he said.
"We've won three premierships from the last three grand finals in B grade, but we've finished roundabout third all three of those years. We've just been good enough to win the last couple of games.
"For the sake of our club, we've done all the hard work and something like that could have torn us apart. We're thankful they (GCA) listened to us."
The meeting didn't last very long, and the decision had been made to have the bye again for A grade for the second year in a row.
However in another twist, the Association was informed last Thursday that Navarre had lost a couple of players over the winter and there were doubts they would be competitive in A grade this season.
A meeting between Navarre board members and the Association executive was held on Sunday night, where the decision was made to cut the A grade competition back to six teams.
There will now be eight teams in the B grade competition.
Although it is not exactly what the Association wanted (its wish was for an eight team premier competition), it eliminates the bye in both A and B grade for 2013/14.
Mr Martin had previously said the Association's first move was to eliminate the bye in A grade this season.
"We wanted eight, eight and six (teams) but instead we got six, eight and eight," Mr Martin said about the three grades of competition.
"It's just the way it goes."
When it appeared likely that a bye was going to occur, Halls Gap was invited to join A grade but it also declined, believing it didn't have the players which forced the Association to put forward this unique plan involving Swifts/Great Western's B grade team.
Mr Brilliant said the Association had a 'bit of an idea' about how the plan might have worked, but added there would be a lot of questions raised if results went different ways.
Grampians Cricket Association returns this Saturday, October 12 and will begin with three one day matches.
** Wickliffe/Lake Bolac has dropped out of C grade while Elmhurst, back after a season in recess, is listed in the draw to be released in Friday's edition of The Stawell Times-News.