Decision to abandon round divides SWC clubs

SOUTH West Cricket clubs are divided on a contentious decision to abandon round 15 matches due to extreme heat.
A straw poll of division one club captains carried out by The Standard yielded no consensus about whether the decision was right or wrong.
SWC officials called off play at 7pm on Friday night, conscious of the impact of a forecast 40-degree day could have on players and umpires.
The temperature ultimately peaked at 42.1 degrees at Mortlake racecourse between 4pm and 4.30pm and was above 30 degrees from 10.30am. SWC secretary Grant Myers on Sunday defended the decision, saying executive members had “a duty of care” to those involved.
“We heard the odd grumble about play being called off but with the temperature getting into the 40s it was a good commonsense call,” he said.
“We have that 40-degree mark as a tipping point and with many places in the district reaching that we erred on the side of caution.”
Myers said the SWC executive also factored in players being unavailable on extreme fire danger days like Saturday due to CFA commitments.
The decision had the support of Terang skipper Ben Grinter and the sidelined Woorndoo captain Grant Cameron.
Grinter, whose Bloods are two games outside of the finals spots, said player welfare was more important than chasing points.
“With our position on the ladder, we needed to play Saturday to push forward for finals. But I think the league made the right decision,” he said.
“Just because we play a summer sport doesn’t mean players should be subjected to extreme conditions.”
Cameron, who underwent a knee reconstruction last Thursday which has ruled him out for the rest of the summer, agreed.
“People have farms — your livelihood comes before your sport. If a fire starts you want some sort of a chance to protect your farm,” he said.
“The other thing is I’ve worked over west in the heat and I’ve seen a lot of blokes go down with heatstroke.”
Mortlake skipper Todd Lamont said he was disappointed play failed to go ahead. He believed the decision came too early. “Dad has been playing division three and he was pretty surprised it was called off,” he said.
“As hot as Saturday was, I wasn’t too concerned about the fire danger. I don’t think it was too hot to play cricket.”
Bookaar captain Fraser Lucas was also frustrated, noting play went ahead in similar — but slightly hotter — weather the week before.
“Maybe they made the right decision for the lower grades but when it comes to division one you’ve got to play regardless of rain or the heat,” he said.
“We’re the number one competition around the district ... we’re going to Country Week next week and we want to win. You want everyone in form.”
Round 15 was to feature a top-of-the-table match between Pomborneit and Noorat and two other season-shaping contests. Mortlake (third) was to play Heytesbury Rebels (fifth) and Bookaar (fourth) was to play Terang (sixth).
Simpson (eighth) was up against Boorcan (ninth) and Cobden (seventh) was to host Woorndoo (10th).


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