Sport

Cricket to look different this summer in border regions as governing body confirms target start date

By Shepparton News

Cricket competitions along the NSW-Victoria border are likely to look different this summer as associations attempt to navigate differing coronavirus restrictions in each state.

It comes as Cricket Victoria confirms a potential start date for regional competitions of October 17 — which Cricket Shepparton is also targeting.

Murray Valley Cricket Association has announced that its NSW clubs, along with Goulburn Murray Cricket side Moama, will play Twenty20 games from October 10.

The association will then look to start its regular season on November 7, with the hope of the border opening before then.

President Anthony Holmes said the MVCA would wait on further advice from the Victorian Government before a final decision was made.

“All New South Wales clubs have the New South Wales training and playing COVID requirements, so that’s why we will look to get them started next month,” he told the Pastoral Times.

“Hopefully the borders are open by November 7 and we will be able to start our MVCA competition.

“If not, we are looking at holding a New South Wales competition with our teams, as well as Moama, and hopefully our Victorian teams can join the Goulburn Murray clubs this year.

“We have made contact with the GMCA and are hopeful the clubs in that comp are happy to accommodate our Victorian teams if the borders don’t open.

“Our main goal is to get everyone back out there and playing cricket, so we’re doing everything we can to make sure this happens.”

CV recommends a start date of October 17 to allow for COVID-safe plans to be in place, grounds to be prepared and teams to complete a shortened pre-season.

“We’re still working through the finer points around training, number of groups on-field and turf wicket preparation, but we expect we’ll have more information to share there in the coming days,” CV head of member services Paul Milo said.

“We’ll also be hosting webinars for clubs and associations over the next week to provide support and guidance as we make our way through this process.”

Victorian Country Cricket League president Kelvin White encouraged clubs and associations to be thorough with their preparations.

“We’ve got a great opportunity to set an example in being COVID-safe and a blueprint for when metropolitan Melbourne may be able to return to play cricket,” White said.

“It’s exciting news for communities across regional Victoria where cricket is such a mainstay of their summers.”

Deniliquin Rhinos have already started preparing for the start of the season, beginning pre-season in early August.

Rhinos secretary-treasurer and Premier Grade player Brad Todd said the side was keen to get going if COVID-19 restrictions allowed for the desired start date.

Todd said the side was also excited to welcome Moama to the competition, even if it was only for a short period of time.

“It’s always good to play against other sides. They are in the unfortunate position of playing in a predominately Victorian competition, so they really don’t have anywhere else to play,” he said.

“Looking at results from last year they will be a good side as they played off in the semis and finished on top of their competition, so Moama coming in it will only be a positive for the comp.”