Summer sport in the pipeline after government restrictions

By Alex Mitchell

Summer sport appears on the menu after the Victorian Government continued to ease coronavirus-related restrictions yesterday.

With regional Victoria moving to the third step of the recovery plan, all community sport can return for children and all non-contact sport can resume for adults from Thursday, meaning summer sport seasons could return shortly pending further government advice.

For Cricket Shepparton, president David D'Elia welcomed the news and said the association would be ready to begin its season as soon as October 17.

“We're waiting for everything to become official from Cricket Victoria, but everything seems to be saying we should be able to start our season from October 17,” D'Elia said.

“Cricket Shepparton met (on Monday night) and we discussed all the possibilities. We've got a few plans and now we feel ready to get things rolling.”

Should the October 17 start be ticked off, D'Elia said a season had already been sketched out, with a number of byes in place to assure players would be able to resume other parts of their lives outside cricket.

“Looking at the advice of Cricket Victoria and Cricket Australia, we'll look at an all one-day competition starting October 17,” he said.

“Round two, clubs will be able to opt to play early on AFL grand final day with no juniors being played, or on the Friday.

“Cup weekend the following weekend we will have a general bye, we're aware that as much as people are interested in playing cricket, people want to visit family, go away for the weekend, all the things they haven't been able to do recently.

“We'll play right up until December 19, and resume on January 9. Australia Day weekend will be a bye and we'll play through until the first weekend of March, before a three-week finals series finishing on the last Saturday in March.”

The association has appointed Brandan Reilly as its COVID-19 officer, with providing clubs with accurate regulations after contacting the four local governments in the association's range one of the more vital issues toward getting a season going.

“We've got to get to clubs with information like are the rooms open, how many people are allowed in crowds, there's a lot of work to be done,” D'Elia said.

“We've asked each club to appoint a COVID-19 officer making sure they're abiding by all rules and restrictions.”

And with the sharing of equipment almost certain to be banned at all levels, D'Elia said it was a good time for anyone with spare cricket gear floating about to get it sanitised and donate it to their clubs.

“Once most kids hit under-16s and seniors they've got their own gear, but the younger ones like under-10s and under-12s might not have it all,” he said.

“If we can get a few more helmets and that sort of thing and get them sanitised, that would be useful for a lot of different clubs.”