By Justin Flynn
Local cricketers could be playing an entire season of one-day matches if COVID-19 restrictions delay the start of the fixture.
Bellarine Peninsula Cricket Association is scheduled to begin its season on October 3, but with stage 3 restrictions in place and in the case of Little River Cricket Club, stage 4, the season is in limbo.
BPCA president Ian Caldwell said a number of contingency plans were being factored in if the season is delayed or interrupted and one of them was the possibility of all grades playing one-day games.
“This season will obviously be different to anything we’ve faced before and it may head down to the fact that we may end up playing a one-day season,” he told the Voice.
“If we are going to lose any weeks of cricket, which I think we will, if we lose up to seven weeks we can put in plan that everybody will play each other twice in a one-day game.”
Caldwell said sub restrictions may be altered to allow multiple players to move up the grades in the middle of a two-day match, particularly in the event of a player testing positive.
“It may mean a special rule for the season that allows a player to come up a grade, but it’s hypothetical at the moment,” he said.
“We do want to get the season up and running and all the clubs have been fantastic and realise that we all will need to be flexible.
Caldwell said it was important that junior boys and girls cricket go ahead.
“Junior sport has so many positives and we don’t want to lose them to the game if they can’t play for a whole season,” he said.
The BPCA was forced to cancel last season just days before the grand finals were to be played.
Caldwell said he desperately tried to get the grand finals started, but legal implications were too risky.
“We wanted to, we really did,” he said.
“We got to the stage where we encouraged that only the players come to the ground, players would bring their own drink containers and disposal cups, hand sanitiser.
“But we received written advice from the insurance company which virtually said yes you could play but [if] someone tested positive and we couldn’t demonstrate that we took all the correct protocols, it would leave not only the association but the executives who oversaw it open personally to be sued.”
Caldwell said he was hopeful the season will start on October 3, but realistically it was doubtful.
He said the season would not be extended into April next year and needed to finish in March because of football commitments.
“AFL Barwon made a conscious decision earlier this year that if football was going to continue it would not go into October at all,” he said.
“They have been really good and we will not encroach on their season in 2021.
“We want to finish in March because the sooner we all get back to normality of the seasons with commencing football on April 1 and cricket on October 1, the better it will be for everybody.”
Caldwell said the association also faces a challenge of whether to play on the weekend of this year’s AFL grand final.