BENDEMEER will not be taking to the field during the 2019 Group 4 season after a “combination of factors” led to the club opting to sit out the season.
The Mountain Men began the 2018 season in first grade before seeking a move to see out the year in reserve grade.
However, financial constraints and recruiting difficulties resulted in the club’s committee deciding to fold during the 2019 season.
Former caretaker president Richard Bullock said the decision was “very heartbreaking”.
“There was a combination of factors that led to this sad decision,” Bullock said.
“The club’s bank balance wasn’t really looking too healthy, sponsorship was becoming hard to come by and given the size of the Bendemeer community, recruiting was tough as well.
“It was a tough decision and a crying shame, but ultimately the club opted to sit this year out.”
Bullock said Group 4 had been “very supportive” during the club’s recent struggles.
“Everyone at Group 4 was just fantastic,” he said.
“They were very accommodating when we moved from first grade to reserve grade.
“As well as that, they have been very understanding of our decision here and have told us they will do everything they can to help should we look to return in 2020.”
The move to reserve grade proved to be a successful one with the club registering five wins and a draw throughout the remainder of the season.
“There was some positives behind the move,” Bullock said.
“It gave a few guys that winning feeling and kept them coming back.
“We wouldn’t have been able to move a few weeks in like we did without the support of Group 4.”
Bendemeer is very close to Bullock’s heart with his brother a former coach, and his father a former coach and life member.
“I know in Dad’s time they had to shut down for a year,” Bullock said.
“So it’s not something that is unusual.
“Given we are such a small community, sourcing local players is not exactly an option for us and has probably caused those issues in the past.
“However, this time around it has been a combination of things and it is very disappointing.
“To be honest, this club is very special to me and to so many others, so it was a very sad decision and really broke my heart.
“I suppose it is a sign of the times.”
Bullock said he was confident the club could return to competition in the future.
“We certainly haven’t extinguished the flame,” he said.
“I think there are plenty of positives for the future.
“For example, I know my brother was coaching an under-14 team, which was predominantly made up of local kids.
“A lot of those kids had never played the game before, so hopefully they can stick together and in a few years time we can have a strong core of young players in the senior ranks.
“So the future is not all grim.
“While I won’t be able to serve on the committee full time, I’ll be still keen to help the committee in any way I can as a consultant.
“I’m sure they will sit down at some stage and weigh up their options for next year.
“I really love the club and hopefully we’ll be back in the future.”