Yesterday Baseball Victoria confirmed that Doncaster would be relegated to Division Two for the 16/17 Season after finishing second last in the BV Division One competition. This is consistent with the promotion and relegation criteria that will see both Doncaster and Sunshine relegated, making way for Moorabbin and Fitzroy to come up from Division Two.
The key message from the Board and coaching staff is that the Men’s program will regroup and come back stronger than ever. To that end the club, following our Board meeting last night, the club is pleased to announce the re-appointment of Ben Utting as Club Coach for the 16/17 season. Like the Board Ben is committed to re-establishing Doncaster as a power in Victorian baseball and is looking forward to the challenge of performing to the required level in Division Two to win promotion back to Division One.
Club President John Hollingsworth reflected on the relegation as follows “A stint in Division Two for our Men’s program is not the end of the world. It happens for a reason and will enable us to rebuild our program. While we will not be undertaking endless "soul searching" we will take time to review where we are at, get feedback from our playing group, learn from any mistakes made over a difficult campaign this season and target areas to improve.”
“We must remember that we are one of the largest Senior baseball clubs in this State across both Men’s and Women’s programs and that we have a burgeoning junior program. Both Women’s teams saw playoff action and our Men’s 3rds and 4ths both played in Grand Finals. Of note is that a number of players from those two Men’s teams are very young and should form the foundation of our 1sts/2nds playing group in years to come. We have a very strong balance sheet, fantastic facilities which will be further upgraded during Winter and we receive wonderful support from the local community”
Of interest is that in its formal advice to the Club yesterday, Baseball Victoria made this suggestion - “While the Junior and Senior criteria requirements for Division 2 are less than Division 1, I strongly encourage the club to maintain the Division 1 team criteria to ensure eligibility for promotion is maintained.” In response to that message from Baseball Victoria, John Hollingsworth said “I can assure our members that Doncaster does not maintain a strong senior and junior program just to ensure eligibility for Men’s Division One. We maintain a strong junior and senior program because it’s the right thing to do for our club, the sport and our local community - shame on any club that is not doing the same.”
Both Ben Utting and John Hollingsworth challenge the playing group to re-group to both meet the challenge of Division Two next season and importantly to be clear about what is required to achieve a sustainable re-entry into Division One. They will be seeking input from the playing group and coaching staff in the off-season and will be working with the Board to make required changes in advance of the 16/17 season.