by LIAM DURKIN
CRICKETERS across the region are facing a lengthy wait until the start of the season.
In ordinary circumstances the season would be starting either this Saturday or next, but given the current climate, the first ball might not be bowled until after the Melbourne Cup is run.
Cricket Victoria has developed a one-page roadmap for a return-to-play, which contains a recommendation that all competitions consider setting their Round 1 fixture to begin the weekend of November 13 (the weekend after Melbourne Cup).
The roadmap has been shared with the state government to confirm that it aligns with the wider roadmap announced recently.
At time of going to press, Cricket Victoria is yet to receive feedback to its one-page roadmap from the state government.
According to the roadmap, the following will apply at 80 per cent single dose for regional clubs:
• No matches against other opponents;
• Organised training permitted with no group size limit;
• Centre wicket training and match simulation training permitted;
• No spectators, and;
• Change rooms/social rooms to remain closed.
At 70 per cent double dose:
• Same as above, except canteens and bars can open for outdoor service.
At 80 per cent double dose (estimated to be reached by Friday, November 5, 2021):
• Matches and spectators permitted;
• Metro players maximum travel distance removed, and;
• Changerooms, social rooms and bars open.
Because of the huge delay, it is expected local associations will play a full one-day season.
A start of November 13/14 will allow 14 rounds before March finals.
In cricket parlance eight clubs in a particular grade is seen as the perfect number to work with as it allows a clean 14 round season where every team plays each other twice.
The Traralgon and District Cricket Association currently has seven clubs in its three senior grades, while the Latrobe Valley and District Cricket League has 11 first grade teams.
Because of the odd number in both associations, the task of doing the fixture becomes all the more difficult.
The last cricket season was played under the COVID cloud, with the start of the season delayed to mid-October and a week lost in February due to lockdown.
Due to the curveballs, some associations across Gippsland took the opportunity to change from the usual format of playing half the season as one day games and the other half as two day games.
The Warragul and District Cricket Association played a preseason tournament called the ‘COVID Cup’, while the Sale-Maffra Cricket Association and Leongatha and District Cricket Association opted to play a full one-day season.