SUNRAYSIA Cricket Association president Mick Thomson said the group is taking the remainder of the season virtually day by day.

“We are hopeful that we are able to continue on for the remainder of the season uninterrupted, that may only be wishful thinking at this point in time,” Thomson said.

“To every clubs’ credit they are doing everything possible to ensure they can field all of their senior grades.

“There’s a lot of clubs bringing more juniors into the senior teams than usual along with dragging ex-players out of retirement to fill teams also.

“It may actually be a good thing for cricket to get some past players out on the field playing, only time will tell.”

COVID meant a delay to the season start, and although cricket was able to be played in the lead up to the Christmas/New Year break, increasing numbers of the illness locally brings uncertainty.

“The season was due to start October 2, Thomson said.

“We missed the first five games due to COVID restrictions and lock downs, they were all scheduled one day matches.

“The board made a decision before the season commenced not to reschedule games as that may create problems as the season progressed.

“Thankfully we never made the decision to reschedule, we would never of found the time to play the missed matches.

“After round five (November 6 and 13) we went on to play two day matches, the first day of our two day match was played.

“Week two there were two games washed out and two games went ahead.

“That was a relief just to see some cricket played.”

Rounds seven and nine were two day matches, and proceeded without problem.

The association then scheduled a bye leading into Christmas on December 18 to allow people to attend the Adelaide Test Match.

“We recommenced after the Christmas break on January 8, that first round back is played as one day matches,” Thomson said

“We were fortunate that most clubs fielded sides in every division, especially under the current circumstances.

“That being COVID running through the community and players on holidays over the Christmas/New Year period.

“To be able to play cricket pre-Christmas was a huge relief for the association, it is always good to see the players out there doing what they enjoy.

“It is so important that people get out and enjoy things that they love doing no matter what it may be.

“With any sport, if you are not able to play when scheduled then it becomes very easy for people to walk away and do something else.

“People must be kept engaged or they lose interest very quickly.”

Looking back on the first part of the season, Thomson said the top three sides (Irymple, Gol Gol and Mildura Settlers) are no surprise so far.

Thomson said Merbein South are certainly a team to watch in the second half of the season.

“They currently sit fourth on the ladder and would be confident of keeping that spot,” he added.

With a limited amount of cricket having been played so far, Thomson said there have been a few stand out performances.

“Shacaya Thomas (Gol Gol) has made two 100s – 104 and 104 both not out, Bevan Wade (Coomealla Wentworth) 109 not out,” he said.

“There have been several scores in the 80’s and 90’s.

“On the bowing front there have been many standouts also, Richie Wyld (Mildura Settlers) has figures of six for 20 off 16.5 overs, Jarrod Forrester (Merbein-South) has taken six for 23 off nine overs.

“There are also several players that have had five wicket hauls.”

Entering the second half of the season, the association has dared to dream and have announced the grand final will be played at the Mildura Sporting Precinct.

“The idea of playing the grand final at MSP came about from a tour the SCA board did of the whole complex,” Thomson said.

“We got to the oval and one of our board members commented how good it would be to play the grand final there.

“I thought about it for about five seconds and said: ‘Yes, lets look into the possibility’, so we did and it grew from there.

“Oasis Unmatched are currently working on the centre wicket and our Melbourne Country Week team will have a training run on the wicket just prior to them heading to Melbourne for their week of cricket.

“The two sides that will play off in the SCA Grand Final will have training on the centre wicket prior to the grand final weekend to ensure the wicket is suitable but we are very confident there will be no issue with the wicket being ready for play.”

Thomson said the surface of the oval is second to none in the district, being a sand based outfield with Santa Ana Couch grass and is looking spectacular.

“The SCA board feel that any player that gets the opportunity to play on the oval will absolutely love it, the surface is flat and the outfield should be fast,” Thomson said.

“We are looking forward to the grand final being the first game of cricket to be played at the MSP.

“It will be an exciting time for cricket, spectators and the MSP.”

Shacaya Thomas has been fine form this season.