ALBURY/WODONGA OVER 70s CHAMPIONSHIPS……NOVEMBER 2019
As required in the VCA National Championships Manual, herewith a summary report on the 8th Over 70s National Championships held in the twin cities of Albury (NSW) and Wodonga (Victoria) from 19- 25 November 2019. The Championships were hosted by Veterans Cricket Victoria (VCV) in conjunction with Cricket Albury/Wodonga (C A/W)
Twenty teams participated in the championships from all States and New Zealand. ACT was unable to field a team but provided several players to South Australia enabling that State to enter three teams.
The recent tradition of a two day break between the matches on day 2 and 3 was continued and this break seems to be preferred by the majority of attendees.
Divisions 1 and 2 comprised 8 teams competing for the Doug Turbill and Robert ‘Dutchy’ Holland Shields respectively. For the first time, a Division 3 was created to ensure no players were denied the opportunity to attend and play in the Championships. Four teams competed in Division 3, two from Victoria, one from South Australia and a team called the Barbarians which were a mix of players from various States.
In Division 1, Queensland defeated Victoria for back-to-back Championship wins while Victoria 3 won Division 2 for the third year running. Victoria 6 won Division 3. The Division Shields and medallions for each player were presented at the final dinner for Divisions 1 and 2, whilst medallions were presented to Victoria 6 players. If Division 3 continues in future, it is recommended the Board introduce a Shield retrospectively for this Division.
Total number of players registered was 246. New Zealand was given permission to include two 68/69 year olds for these Championships to ensure they would have sufficient players. A number in this lower age bracket were also allowed to play in Division 3 to ensure a 4 team competition. The proviso was these were players not selected for the previous Over 60s Championships.
All games were played on turf with a total of 18 venues being utilised in Albury/Wodonga and surrounding towns.
Two umpires officiated at every game, comprising 21 Umpires who nominated from various States and supported by 13 local association umpires. Umpires were paid by bank transfer immediately after the tournament, thus minimising the requirement for cash and organising payments.
VCV appointed an organisation committee some 15 months prior to the Championships and invited the Chair of C A/W, Michael Erdeljac to a number of meetings.
Members of the VCV committee were Ian Hammet, Joel McGlynn, Neville Crane, Bruce Pooley, Ian Leach, Carol Robinson with Greg Johnson as chair.
Tasks were allocated to committee members and steady progress was made in the months and weeks leading to the Championships with the budget finalised, grounds identified, meet and greet and final dinner preparations made and umpiring appointments finalised.
Fortunately, the Championships ran smoothly from an administration and playing perspective with the only major issue being the forecast high temperatures and in particular, for 42 degrees on day 2. Following consultation with relevant committee members and Ian Fraser (acting Chair of national Over 70s committee) it was decided to amend starting times and playing conditions.
Day 1 (forecast 35 degrees) became 40 Over games for Division 1 and 35 Over games for Division 2 and 3. Start times changed from 10.00am to 9.30 am and 5 over blocks to be bowled from alternate ends.
Day 2 (forecast 42 degrees) became 30 Over games all Divisions with 9.30 am (or earlier if possible) starts and blocks of Overs being allowed to be more than 5 if captains agreed. It was optional for games to be played over split innings of 15 overs per time. Games to finish by 1.00pm when projected temperature was 38 degrees.
Day 3 Games played under normal rules/conditions
Day 4…Finals. Encouraged 9.30am start and games that were not grand finals could be reduced to minimum of 30 overs each if both captains agreed.
In the end, only one game (in Division 3) was called off early due to heat following two players being heat affected.
While we tried to adopt a sensible and defendable policy, it was nerve wracking for organisers, given the age of participants (some over 80 years) and the potential for serious or life threatening reactions to the heat.
In the end, the application of the Heat policy by the Organising committee as recommended in Appendix 1 of the Rules for National Championships was well accepted by participants.
AED’s (defibrillators) were provided at every game.
Given the forecast temperatures, the organising committee fielded a number of enquiries/requests about the perceived dangers of heat exhaustion from wearing helmets. This was discussed at the Umpires meeting prior to Game 1 and Umpires agreed to take a relaxed, rather than stringent approach to batsman wearing helmets. In most games, this resulted in the opening batsmen being allowed to remove their helmets after umpires deemed the bowling not fast enough to warrant wearing a helmet. Wicketkeepers were still required to wear a helmet if standing up to the stumps.
On the day preceding the first games, meetings were arranged for 1.the Over 70s national Committee (chaired by Ian Fraser in Chris Tobin’s absence); 2. All Umpires; 3. All Team managers. These meetings were followed by a Welcome Function commencing at 5.30pm.
The decision to hold a Welcome Function with hot and cold finger food and a cash bar received widespread acceptance (estimated attendance of 300) and at the relatively minimal cost for finger food was covered in the overall budget and not charged for separately. The Mayors of each city welcomed players and partners and there was plenty of socialising and catching up with friends from other States.
It is suggested the Welcome Function be held for all Championships with the objective of keeping costs to a nominal amount for finger food. Attendees can choose to go to dinner following the function.
Greg Johnson President
Veterans Cricket Victoria