Cricket: Victoria members reject merger with Lurgan

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Plans for a proposed merger between Lurgan and Victoria cricket clubs have been narrowly rejected.

Lurgan’s members voted overwhelmingly in favour of the merger, which would have seen the two clubs joining forces in a club renamed Lurgan Victoria Cricket Club.

Victoria, Cricket, Lurgan Park.  Cought.  INLM2914-4139

Victoria, Cricket, Lurgan Park. Cought. INLM2914-4139

But with a two-thirds majority needed at Victoria for the move to be ratified, the vote was split and the merger has now been put on the back-burner.

It is understood that under the proposals, which were drafted by a working group incorporating committee members from each club, the main base for the club would have been at Pollock Park, Lurgan’s existing home.

Lurgan Park, which currently hosts Victoria’s matches, would have been used for matches involving sides in junior divisions.

Dennis Johnston, Lurgan’s chairman, said that while he was disappointed that the merger had not gone through, he believed the process would result in closer relations between the clubs going forward.

“This was about looking at the issue of cricket as a whole, and in Lurgan in particular, trying to rationalise and make use of both clubs’ facilities and players, and keep both clubs going,” he explained.

Mr Johnston said there had been a “great feeling of togetherness” amongst members of the working group.

“Lurgan members were for it but Victoria voted narrowly against it,” he added. “I think this has opened up doors that can be built on in the future. It’s not a negative (that it has been rejected). I can see positives here.”

Garry McClune, one of the prominent members of Victoria who was behind the merger, said the vote had been very tight.

He felt the overriding issue amongst the Victoria members was a desire to retain the club’s individual identity.

“Everyone was happy with the document that the committees had put together,” he said. “But a lot of our guys just preferred to go it alone. It was disappointing for some of us but we had decided before the vote and whichever way the vote went, everyone would get behind the decision and that’s what we will do.

“The working group was open and honest and the process will go a long way towards improving relationships between the clubs.”