Benalla Ensign

Relief for cricketers with return-to-play mapped out

- By Tyler Maher

Cricket associatio­ns, clubs and players across the state now have clarity when it comes to the start of the summer season.

Cricket Victoria released a roadmap on September 23, which shows the progressio­n for cricketers to move from the current state of play to getting to the crease for round one of their respective seasons.

For those playing in the wider region — including Cricket Shepparton, Goulburn Murray Cricket and Murray Valley Cricket Associatio­n — it means preparatio­ns can be in full swing for an expected start date of early November.

CV’s roadmap was still awaiting final Victorian Government approval, but sets out what clubs should be able to do on each vaccinatio­n rate milestone in the state.

Regional Victorian cricketers can train in small groups of no larger than one team, but when the state hits 80 per cent single-dose vaccinatio­n, CV will recommend the following:

• organised training permitted with no group size limit;

• no spectators allowed;

• change rooms to remain closed except for toilet access; and

• no matches against other opponents, but centre wicket training and match simulation permitted within the club.

This milestone will be hit this week.

About a month later, when the state hits 70 per cent double-dose vaccinatio­n, the following is expected to change in regional Victoria: • up to 100 spectators allowed; • junior cricket participat­ion programs permitted in line with density limits, but highly recommende­d to start once 80 per cent double dose vaccinatio­n is reached; and • canteen and club bar facilities to open in line with food, drink and liquor licence rules for outdoor consumptio­n.

And the 80 per cent double-dose vaccinatio­n milestone will see metropolit­an clubs come under the same banner as regional cricketers, with the following among the expected changes:

• matches permitted;

• indoor cricket matches and training permitted;

• metropolit­an travel restrictio­ns removed;

• change rooms and other club facilities open in line with density rules; and

• up to 500 spectators permitted outdoors and 150 indoors pending density rules.

The current target date for the 80 per cent double dose milestone is November 5.

Due to this, CV is recommendi­ng a November 13 and 14 start date for all competitio­ns, with only one-day and Twenty20 matches scheduled for the season.

The governing body notes that local leagues will have their own dates and schedules in mind post80 per cent double dose vaccinatio­n, but players and clubs across the state now have a much clearer idea of what is possible when it comes to the first ball of the season.

● The roadmap can be found at cricketvic­ or on CV’s social media sites, and remains subject to changing government advice.

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