Ballarat Cricket Association operations officer Greg Wakeling concedes playing on back-to-back days, as was the case for some clubs this weekend, was not ideal but something that was hard to avoid.
Saturday saw day two of first grade action completed and then on Sunday round four’s one-day fixture took place, and for five teams it meant back-to-back days of cricket and for some back-to-back days in the field.
The jam-packed weekend has been met with criticism by some of the first grade captains, the popular opinion being potentially 130 overs in the field, and for some bowlers upward of 30 overs, too much for a weekend’s cricket. And given the near-immediate turnaround, there is potential for one round to indirectly play a part in the following, both physically and from a selection point of view.
The reason for the fixture choice?
The Ballarat Cricket Association felt returning from the Christmas break on January 6 was too soon – given training days would fall while many players would likely be away, while playing on December 23 was unreasonable.
Therefore it was decided the extra week would have to made up in the form of a one-day match on a two-day match weekend.
The BCA’s hands were further tied by Easter being a the week after the grand final, limiting any room for movement.
Wakeling said after consulting with clubs the decision was made to go with a nine and three structure – nine two-day matches and three one-dayers.
He said it was difficult to please everyone and designing a fixture could not be solely based around the first grade. However, Wakeling said the BCA would look to avoid a similar situation next season.
“It’s not what we want, playing one Sundays...but it’s a little bit of a trade-off,” Wakeling said.
“A lot of the time the captains aren’t consulted in the decision-making process...we ask the executives of the clubs, we ask ‘what would you like to do?’
“There’s a lot of things we have to take into account.
“It works for some, it doesn’t work for others, it is what it is...it won’t be as crammed next season.”
Once again, the complication of having nine teams in the first grade added to the fixturing headache.
Last season six of the teams returned for a one-day match on January 7.