EVEN though the Shoalhaven District Cricket Association continues to produce more and more elite talent, such as Nic Maddinson and Matthew Gilkes, the health of the region's summer competition is slowly dying.
So much so, there were only five teams that contested the first grade competition last summer - a far cry from the eight in 2017/18.
In an attempt to get on the front foot, the SDCA has appointed their first ever administrator - to help the competition regain its past glory.
That person is Jackson Surman.
Surman, 21, comes to the Shoalhaven after spending more than five years working with Illawarra, South Coast and Greater Illawarra Cricket Zone - holding roles such as treasurer, junior secretary and umpire, as well as playing for Kiama.
"Once I saw the role in the Shoalhaven pop up, I jumped at the chance to be involved," Surman said.
"I saw it as an opportunity to try something different.
"With Shoalhaven obviously needing a hand, I thought my experience could perfectly suit the role and help better their association as a whole - getting it to the level we all know it's capable of."
Surman, who has extensive knowledge on competition management, its policies and administrating all levels of cricket, has numerous plans for the SDCA - which includes nine clubs stretching from Berry-Shoalhaven Heads in the north to Batemans Bay in the south.
"One plan I have and it worked really well in the South Coast competition is bringing back that tribalism to each town and their cricket side," he said.
"It's about getting the word out there and trying to recruit players to your club.
"Sitting back and waiting isn't going to work anymore."
Surman, in the next couple of weeks, is going to reach out and familiarise himself with all the SDCA clubs and see how each of them run.
"I have a rough idea of how things currently work in the Shoalhaven," he said.
"Ultimately, I want to make things easier for everyone - from the players to the coaches to the volunteers.
"My grand plan is to simplify things into a nice, neat model and ensure everyone is on the same page in terms of the association.
"It's also important to get information, such as draws, out as early as possible, to help all clubs and make their jobs easier.
"My job is to empower each and every club, so they focus on doing the most important part, which is getting people back playing and enjoying cricket."
Surman admits plans are already in place for a revamped first grade competition, featuring as many as seven clubs - with a mid-October start date being discussed, after being pushed back by COVID-19.
"With numerous sports, such as AFL South Coast and Group Seven, going into October, we are in negotiations as to when to start the season but also when the grounds will be made available," Surman said.
"We already know Bernie Regan Sporting Complex will be unavailable until November due to ongoing work, meaning North Nowra-Cambewarra's games will most likely shift to the Nowra Showground.
"We are also wary people that play both summer and winter sports will more than likely like a break between seasons."
Surman, as well as concentrating on the now, has an eye for the future, saying it's a very exciting to be involved in Shoalhaven Cricket.
"I look around and see other associations in not only in Greater Illawarra but also around NSW and see how successful the administrator model can be, by making cricket that sport with a positive culture that everyone wants to be involved in," he said.
"Volunteers can actually do work to benefit clubs in their own backyard, knowing the region-wide issues are being taken care of professionally up the chain.
"It's important people get behind this model, which drives development of all players, especially juniors who now have idols such as Matthew Gilkes to aspire to, to ensure the long-term sustainability and health of the sport.
"If we ensure positive growth and retention numbers from all clubs in the Shoalhaven, which is a nursery for elite talent, it will lead to things such as improved facilities and improved competition.
"It's a really exciting time to be involved and I can't wait to get started."