Fixture clash: Double-booking on Horsham cricket grand final day

HORSHAM Cricket Association officials are worried about a potential grand final fixturing clash with the Horsham District Football League opening round in March.

The league's draw which is yet to be released publicly has the opening round of football matches scheduled for Saturday, March 29.

The date coincides with the cricket association's A, B and C Grade grand finals.

The association did not notice the fixturing until last week and wants to avoid putting its grand final showcase up against the first round of district league football.

Association secretary Darren Chesterfield said he contacted Western Vic Football general manager Stephen McQueen when he realised there was a clash and was hopeful the groups could come to an arrangement.

"We had a board meeting on Monday and discussed the issue and we don't think it's ideal for football or cricket to be clashing against each other," he said.

"It wouldn't be good for any player to be told that to play in the cricket grand final they have to miss out on their first

game of footy or the other way around because that's not really fair.

"We've sent them a letter just to point out we're a little bit disappointed that's going to happen and hopefully they can review it .

"We've got quite a few common ovals that we use like Quantong, Laharum, Taylors Lake, Rupanyup and Natimuk so there's quite a few ovals that we use for cricket that we can't rule out needing to use in the finals."

The letter sent by the association to football administrators emphasises the association is unable to determine which grounds it will need for the finals until February 28 at the earliest.

It also points out a Department of Planning and Community Development determination from 2010 that set out guidelines for the beginning of sporting seasons on Crown land.

The determination states that on Crown land, the football season begins on April 1 and concludes September 30, while the cricket season starts on October 1 and concludes on March 31.

McQueen said the league would review other options and was committed to finding a solution that suited both organisations.

“The district league season started in April this year, but it’s because of Easter and the fact there’s got to be an Easter break that we had to start in March,” McQueen said.

“Unfortunately we have to play our grand final where it’s scheduled and it has to work backwards from there so our timeline is somewhat fixed.

“The district league has started in March before and it has never been an issue because the cricket has finished earlier, so it’s just an oversight. We’re looking into what we can do about it.”

McQueen said the league’s draft draw had been sent to clubs in the middle of November but nobody involved in either the cricket association or football league picked up the fixturing clash.

Horsham Cricket Association president Michael McGoff said he was disappointed those in charge of football fixturing had not checked the cricket grand final dates before making the draw.

Cricket association board member Tim Hopper said the clash exemplified a trend of football encroaching on cricket season. 

He said the association was losing junior members because they were doing football pre-season training in November rather than playing cricket.

“I’d love to see the reaction if we rolled up a wicket on city oval on Horsham District league grand final day,” he said.

“There’s room for cricket and there’s room for football, but we can’t have a situation where the football leagues headhunt the good sportsmen over summer because that’s what’s starting to happen.”

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