MILDURA Settlers are the 2019-20 Sunraysia Cricket Association (SCA) First Division premiers after the SCA was forced to call off this weekend’s grand finals.
SCA president Andrew Farlie said Tuesday’s decision came after Cricket Victoria strongly recommended all community cricket competitions be cancelled in an effort to reduce the community transmission risk of COVID-19.
“We’ve been speaking to Cricket Victoria about ramifications if we were to go against that expectation and play games and that just becomes too much of a liability issue for us as an association,” he said.
“The main thing is making sure the players and umpires, officials and scorers and everyone is kept as safe as possible and that leads us to the disappointing decision to have to make to call the grand finals off.”
The decision means Mildura Settlers will be First Division premiers, Irymple will be awarded the Second Division title, Workers Gol Gol take out Third Division and Merbein South are awarded Fourth Division.
“The team ranked higher at the end of home-and-away season (out of the sides who had made the grand final) will become premiers,” Farlie said.
“It’s an unfortunate way to finish the season, I’ve been on the phone a hell of a lot trying to find a way or a means we can still play without having any ramifications on our end of it but at the end of it, the safety of the players is the most important thing.”
Farlie said postponing the season was not an option due to the preparation of wickets in April, and clashing with preparations for football season.
Cricket Victoria chief executive Andrew Ingleton said the decision to recommend cricket be called off was not taken lightly.
The Sheffield Shield season has been called off with New South Wales declared winners of the title while Victorian Premier Cricket finals have also been cancelled.
“The last thing we sought to do was stop people from playing cricket,” Ingleton said.
“But as I’m sure everyone can agree, these are exceptional and difficult circumstances for everyone to work through and public health is our No.1 priority.
“Continuing to bring groups of players, coaches, administrators, fans and volunteers together for Premier and local cricket matches is no longer a responsible course of action.”
Wednesday night’s Innes Medal night has also been called off, with the SCA to investigate the potential of live streaming an awards event next week.