Kyabram Free Press

GMC: Dates, formats confirmed as season nears

- By Josh Huntly

With less than a month until the slated November 13 season start, the format of the 2021-22 Goulburn Murray Cricket season has become clearer following a meeting of the league and its 20 clubs.

Two-day cricket will return to the A-grade fixture after a 2020-21 season consisting solely of one-day games, while all other grades will resume with the traditiona­l 40-overa-side format.

GMC operations manager James Stokes outlined the mixed-format split, with eight one-day games to be played and three two-day fixtures set to take place in the league’s top tier.

“We’re going to play a two-day game before Christmas,” Stokes said.

“February will be two-day games leading into finals, which will be two-dayers for A-grade.

“We put it out to the clubs and they were pretty unanimous that they wanted a mixture. They didn’t want to go down the one-day format.”

All men's grades will commence on November 13, while the women's competitio­ns begin on November 14.

Stokes also confirmed two Sundays in January and February would be kept in reserve in the event any more of the season was lost before November 13.

Meanwhile, the league’s juniors could be off and running sooner than their senior counterpar­ts — potentiall­y across the border if Victoria’s reopening hits a snag.

“Marcus Maher (junior co-ordinator) is hoping to try and start the junior competitio­n on November 6,” Stokes said.

“We were talking ... and clubs were reasonably happy with it.

“If it looks like Victoria will be held up, maybe we could just swap it over and play out at Mathoura and Moama.

“That would be the under-16s T20 comp we want to get going.”

With full inoculatio­n against COVID-19 set to play a large part in the resumption of community sport, the issue was discussed among stakeholde­rs at the league meeting.

Stokes explained the GMC was still waiting for further advice from the state government and Cricket Victoria on the issue.

Competitiv­e fixtures are scheduled to be permitted from November 5 once 80 per cent of the 16-andover population is fully vaccinated under the Victorian roadmap.

“We’re still waiting for further detail from the Vic Government and Cricket Victoria to see what detail there is around that 80 per cent mark,” Stokes said.

“We actually haven’t been formally told, we’re just gauging ourselves around what Murray Valley (Cricket Associatio­n) have said.

“The (GMC) clubs are quite clear on what they’ve got to do — they’ll do what they need to do to get going.

“Obviously, it’s not governed by the GMC.

“We’re governed by what the health department and the state government put out.

“If we want to play cricket, we just have to get on with it. That was the general consensus.”

Stokes added: “The discussion wasn’t aggressive. It was just ‘here it is, this is the position we’re in’ and the clubs said we’ll just get on with it.”

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