Seymour Telegraph

Next two rounds called off

- By Zac Standish

Cricket Shepparton has pulled the pin on the next two rounds of the season as the region continues to grapple with its ongoing flooding crisis.

This decision was made to try to ease the burden on clubs, as many prepare to begin the clean-up process.

As a result, the first four rounds will be deemed washouts, with heavy rain already forcing players from the field in the first two weekends of the season.

The associatio­n is now aiming to begin the 2022-23 season on Saturday, November 5.

With so much uncertaint­y gripping towns across the Cricket Shepparton area, president Brandan Reilly said it was an easy decision to put the start of the season on hold.

“I haven’t had a huge amount of contact with our clubs, based on the amount of work we’ve been doing ourselves over the last few days to stay safe,” Reilly said.

“But with the ever-evolving flood situation around the region, it was an absolute no-brainer for the league to suspend cricket for the time being.

“So as it stands, we’ll wash it out for the next two weeks, bringing us up to four weeks missing from the start of the season.”

Reilly said he hoped the early call would give the clubs more certainty about how the season might look and take the immediate pressure off having to prepare a pitch at such short notice.

“The idea behind going down this road was to allow our presidents, our committees, our volunteers, our players the opportunit­y to take one less stress off their mind,” he said.

“We don’t want our people worrying about getting up for cricket this weekend, we just want to ease that pressure for a couple of weeks.

“In due course we will reassess the situation and what we’ll do fixturing wise and venues wise for the remainder of the season.”

When it comes to the associatio­n’s venues, many have been impacted by the flooding, with Shepparton United’s Princess Park the most prominent example.

With the water set to recede in the coming days, Reilly said the associatio­n would assist in any way possible to help its clubs with the clean-up effort.

“We will always rally around our clubs and all of our clubs know my phone number is always available to them to call me at any time,” he said.

“Whether it is physically getting out there to help clean up or just have someone to talk to over the phone, anything we can do to ease the pressure off them we will do.

“Life is much bigger than the game, and cricket will be here when the time is right to return.”

As for what comes next for the 2022-23 Cricket Shepparton season, Reilly said he would not rule out postponing further rounds, as the associatio­n wanted to ensure all clubs were in a stable position before returning to the field.

“As it stands, the first four rounds are completely washed out, but we won’t rule out the possibilit­y of postponing the start of the season further,” he said.

“We will look to have an online meeting with all the club presidents in the coming days and discuss the fixture and what it might look like moving forward.

“Everything is on the table. Whether we keep the fixture as is or revert back to a one-day fixture, these are conversati­ons that will take place over the coming weeks.

“Our number one priority is looking after our clubs and helping them recover in any way we can.”

 ?? Photo: Rodney Braithwait­e ?? Washout: Cricket Shepparton has pulled up stumps on the next two rounds.
Photo: Rodney Braithwait­e Washout: Cricket Shepparton has pulled up stumps on the next two rounds.

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