For­feit just an early hic­cup

McIvor Times - - NEWS - By DAVID CHAP­MAN

HEATH­COTE Cricket Club lead­ers re­main con­fi­dent of a pos­i­tive sum­mer de­spite hav­ing to for­feit its first match of the 2017-18 sea­son on Satur­day.

Player un­avail­abil­ity due to a clash with the Heath­cote Wine and Food Fes­ti­val has been cited as the main rea­son the club was un­able to field a side for its Twenty20 match against El­more.

A num­ber of crick­eters also play foot­ball for Heath­cote dur­ing the win­ter and it was the foot­ball club’s com­mit­ment to the fes­ti­val which took up the play­ers’ time.

Cricket cap­tain Corey Gil­more said a lot of the play­ers helped out at the fes­ti­val with car park­ing and other vol­un­teer du­ties.

‘‘We def­i­nitely tried to get a side to­gether,’’ Gil­more said.

‘‘We spoke to the play­ers but they were caught up in that com­mit­ment.’’

When it be­came clear on Thurs­day night that the club would be un­able to field a side, of­fi­cials con­tacted El­more to let them know.

‘‘It’s un­for­tu­nate and a bit of a shame,’’ Gil­more said.

‘‘El­more were pretty good about it and sym­pa­thetic. They know it’s not easy to field sides early in the sea­son.

‘‘No one goes out to de­lib­er­ately for­feit a game. It’s just a mat­ter of cir­cum­stances.’’

The sit­u­a­tion is not knew to Heath­cote which only fields an A grade side in the North­ern United Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion (NUCA).

Find­ing 11 play­ers each week can be a strug­gle at times. Even last sea­son when the side played fi­nals, it only had 10 play­ers left at the end of the match with play­ers hav­ing to leave the game early due to other com­mit­ments.

Gil­more said play­ers from last sea­son now have ex­tra com­mit­ments through fam­ily and work mak­ing it harder to gauge num­bers for this sea­son.

He said the Twenty20 game was a new for­mat in­tro­duced this sea­son and it had crept up on the club, catch­ing them un­awares and ham­per­ing prepa­ra­tions.

Gil­more said while it was disap- point­ing to for­feit the match, the fo­cus is now firmly on be­ing ready for the start of the reg­u­lar home-an­d­away sea­son on Oc­to­ber 21.

‘‘We’ll have a light train­ing run this week and get stuck into the sea­son then,’’ Gil­more said.

‘‘We’ve got our new fa­cil­i­ties com­pleted so there’s a bit more shade to make it com­fort­able for peo­ple who want to come down and watch.’’

Gil­more will be shar­ing the cap­taincy du­ties with Pat Ring as the side looks to fol­low up on a suc­cess­ful 2016-17 sea­son.

Heath­cote won the pre­mier­ship in its first sea­son in the NUCA in 2012-13 and made it back-to-back flags in 2013-14.

It went a few years with­out see­ing any fi­nals ac­tion be­fore bounc­ing back into the top four last sea­son.

Heath­cote lost the semi-fi­nal to Dingee which went on to win the grand fi­nal against Goornong.

Heath­cote made a slow start in that cam­paign be­fore a big sec­ond half of the sea­son put it firmly in pre­mier­ship con­tention, a path Gil­more is hop­ing will re­peat it­self this sea­son.

‘‘We had a lot of trou­ble early in the sea­son,’’ he said con­cern­ing player avail­abil­ity.

‘‘There’s a lot go­ing on in early spring. We had a strong sec­ond half of the year and we got a home fi­nal which set us up nicely. Un­for­tu­nately we couldn’t get it done on the day.’’

Both Gil­more and Ring said Heath­cote would largely field the same side as last sea­son with hope­fully a few new­com­ers.

Train­ing to­mor­row night starts at 6pm at Bar­rack Re­serve for any­one keen to come down for a hit.

Heath­cote cap­tain Corey Gil­more is still ex­pect­ing big things from his side this sea­son de­spite some uncertainty over player num­bers.

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