Like many clubs, Melville began using the funding in year one of the program for players taking on mentoring roles within the playing group.
By year three, with the program expanding to include female Premier Cricket, Melville now employs seven members in coaching positons, five of which work across both male and female programs.
Renee Chappell, who played 81 games for WA, two for Australia and is Secretary at Melville, says that the funding has been crucial in restructuring Melville’s coaching set up.
“In the first year of the program we used the grants for two positions; both for existing players in mentoring roles,” Chappell said.
“Now instead of having two members involved, we now have seven members in various positions, with some funding for a female head coach as well as additional specialist coaches.
“The funding prompted us to look at the overall structure of our coaching across the board.
“And what we ended up doing as a result of the expansion was structure our cricket program so we didn’t separate between male and female, other than our senior coaches.
“The real positive is that the Premier Cricket Program funding has prompted that change.”
Chappell said that the funding has freed up funds to employ other coaches, as well as ex-Australian player Adam Voges as the Director of Cricket at Melville.
“From Melville’s perspective, the program has been really important. We have been able to contribute more money towards more suitable coaches and mentors, that we would have ever been able to without the Program.
“So, without question that’s the biggest tick from our end.
Melville went onto win both the 1st and 2nd XI women’s premierships, with Jenny Wallace being named Coach of the Year in WA Premier Cricket. They finished runner up in the men’s 2nd XI and won the 3rd XI, in one of the more successful seasons in the clubs’ history.
Off-field, Melville made progress too. In the midst of bringing the male and female clubs closer together, Chappell said that the funding played a role in overall culture development within the club.
“We have seen a noticeable improvement; I am not going to say that we have gone the whole way yet, but we have seen a dramatic improvement this year.
“In conjunction with the ACA funding, we went about a culture and leadership type program that all our players and some of our coaches were involved in.
“I would say that the funding has prompted a structure change within the club, and at the same time as the culture program.”
Chappell praised the commitment from the current players towards Premier Cricket, and said that it showed that they truly cared about the state of the game in Australia.
The players have committed to a further two years of the program, which will take their contribution to Premier Cricket to above $5 million by 2020.
“This funding shows that the current players commitment to the game in general is unquestionable.
“I think clubs around the country are extremely grateful for the contribution of the current players.”
Chappell speaks about the role that Premier Cricket continues to play in the development of the next generation of players, and how the Premier Cricket Program will help facilitate this.
“I believe we will start to see the rewards of the players’ generosity come through in the next five to ten years at the national level.
“Premier Cricket is the starting block. We have the opportunity to set people up and progress people through to high performance cricket.
“So, it is really important as a Premier Cricket club to get it right, in terms of the right environment to progress people to that point.
“In terms of culture of overall cricket, it is quite important.