Following back-to-back forfeits to open the 2021/22 Tumbarumba District Cricket Association (TDCA) season, Batlow have been forced to withdraw from the competition.
Batlow, who have a large contingent of their playing group currently unvaccinated for Covid-19, cannot go close to fielding a full team due to the current NSW Government Office of Sport return to community sport guidelines and NSW Health orders.
As it stands, to play or spectate community sport, adults 16 and over must be fully vaccinated, and initially, unvaccinated players were expected to be allowed entry into community competitions on December 1.
The NSW Government announced last week that unvaccinated athletes would now have to wait until at least December 15, which proved to be the straw that broke Batlow’s back and forced their hand when making the tough decision to sit out this TDCA season.
Batlow representative, John Riddell, explained his club’s situation, citing the health of the competition as the main reason Batlow would withdraw.
“With the date pushed back to December 15, we were only looking at playing less than half the season with a full side,” Riddell said.
“With the available players, we couldn’t field 11 and we took into account the possibility of having to forfeit almost every week, which was unfair on the other teams.”
Still, Riddell remained hopeful that Batlow would remerge in the TDCA competition next season.
“Batlow has bounced back before and are hoping too again,” Riddell said.
TDCA President Mathew Mccallum admitted it was an unfortunate scenario, and that the competition organisers explored all avenues before accepting Batlow’s decision.
“It’s unfortunate, but after talking to John, there was no way Batlow would be playing before December 15 but he said they are very hopeful of getting back into the competition next year,” Mccallum said.
“There was talk about getting the Jingellic players keen for a game to help them, but Batlow didn’t think they would have enough.
“There were only four or five players from Batlow that could play.”
Competition organisers will play through to round five of the competition based on the original draw, with the remaining four teams each having a bye before a new draw is introduced for the back end of the TDCA season.
“We are going to re-do the draw by the end of round five,” Mccallum said.
“Each team will have meant to play Batlow and have had the bye, and from there, there will be four teams left and they will all play each other with no byes.”
Mccallum said his focus for the moment would be on helping the TDCA return to some normality in 2021/22 but he did have one eye on next season and the possibility of welcoming back Batlow and Jingellic.
“We now need to work on having a normal season and playing some good cricket but it would be nice to go back to having five teams next year, and maybe six with hopefully Jingellic,” Mccallum said.
Fortunately, Batlow’s juniors played on Saturday, and they will continue to play in the Tumbarumba Junior District Cricket Association competition.