DO YOU SEE THE LIGHT? YES, I SEE THE LIGHT!
OLLIE WINES TALKS ABOUT 2018, THE DRAFT AND THE CAPTAINCY IN WEDNESDAY’S RIV
TWILIGHT and night games may just be the future of local sport.
If Saturday night’s cricket fixture between Echuca and Moama is anything to go by, cricket late in the afternoon, and especially at night, could provide the same success it has in major competitions by allowing families and young players to participate in their local sports in the morning, before observing the games later in the afternoon.
By no means was Saturday’s crowd at Victoria Park one of the biggest that has been seen at an Echuca sporting event.
However, for a sport such as cricket, where the local game rarely draws many spectators outside of those who are actually playing and a couple of birds who landed on the field, the turnout for Saturday afternoon’s fixture would be something organisers should have been impressed with.
On top of the pavilion being filled with the regular players, a number of cars were seen around the boundary line with spectators stopping at the game to watch.
Echuca captain Shaun Hon said the night was a big success for the club.
‘‘It was fantastic to have crowd support there,’’ he said.
‘‘In club cricket you are used to the batting side sitting down with a couple of people scoring and that being your only crowd.
‘‘With the night fixture, we had our lower grade players finishing earlier and being able to come down and watch. There were 50 or 60 people floating through the bar, so that’s really good for the cricket club.
‘‘We also ran a ladies day of sorts, so a lot of mums and other women from around the club came in and got to enjoy the game as well.
‘‘To us, it definitely makes a difference having the support there and having everyone enjoy the cricket.’’
Hon said the side only found issues during the twilight.
‘‘Anthony Dennis made 79 for us, and batted through the twilight period,’’ he said.
‘‘When Anthony came off he said it wasn’t hard to bat, but there was probably an element of having to work a little bit harder during that point of the game.
‘‘We’ve had two chances now to play under the lights, we’ve batted and we’ve bowled and overall I think it’s shown that we can get a really good game out of it.’’
The excitement was also helped by a frenetic finish to the match with Moama claiming a 31 run victory to improve their record to 2-2.
But the biggest success of the night must be the game itself.
For this season, the games will be limited by Echuca being the only venue that has lights at a standard accepted to host a night game.
But this could change with support from councils and grants for upgrades.
Hon said he would love to see more games at night.
‘‘I’ve played in two, and really enjoyed the atmosphere it has provided,’’ he said.
‘‘I’d like to sit down and enjoy one of these as a spectator down the line, I think it would be great for commun- ity cricket to have these opportunities.’’
During the football season, crowds showed they want to go and watch sport at night, despite the bonechilling cold.
So at this time of the year with warmer nights, the prospect of night and twilight fixtures could well see our local games pull bigger crowds, and make local sports a must on summer calendars.
WILD THING: Echuca’s front line bowler Matt Hinks sends down another one during the GMC A grade game against Moama at the weekend.