THE Leongatha and District Cricket Association (LDCA) has called off this weekend’s grand finals, following a meeting of the committee of management (COM) last night (Wednesday, March 18).

“We know many people in our South Gippsland cricket community will be disappointed with this decision, but we made it after consulting government and expert medical advice from Cricket Australia’s Chief Medical Officer,” the LDCA said in a statement.

“A Cricket Australia directive advised they expected local community cricket to take a leadership position and cancel all cricket playing and training activity for the remainder of the 2019/20 season in response to this unprecedented global health issue. As all communities, organisations and institutions around the world rally to slow the spread of the coronavirus, so must Australian cricket.

“The LDCA is part of our local community and although our number one priority is to the local cricket community that we lead and serve, there is also all the families of South Gippsland to consider. The committee hope that by taking these actions now we can play a small part in ‘flattening the curve’ and stemming the spread of the virus throughout South Gippsland.”

John Schelling said: “As president of the LDCA, I sincerely apologise to the clubs and participants scheduled to play in this weekend’s grand final, to miss out on the opportunity due to the unprecedented issues we currently face as a community will never be forgotten.

“It was a gut wrenching decision made by the COM members to cancel the grand finals but one that was made with all available up to date medical information and followed strong leadership from our governing body.

“It was the COM’s obligation to put the health of our wider South Gippsland population ahead of our sport and with players and supporters travelling from outside our area to be involved, and an ageing umpire group, it became the most obvious and sensible solution to protect those most vulnerable to the coronavirus issue.

“The highest placed team at the end of the home and away season that was to play in each grand final have been declared the premiers as per our normal cricket traditions and rules.”

This means the following teams are awarded the 2019-20 premierships. No player medallions are being awarded and the official records will show the two teams who would have played off in the grand finals.

A Grade Division 1: Town (3rd) Nerrena (4th).

A Grade Division 2: Imperials (1st) Koonwarra LRSL (2nd).

B Grade Division 1: Phillip Island (2nd) Club (4th).

B Grade Division 2: Korumburra (1st) Kilcunda Bass (2nd).

C Grade Division 1: Phillip Island (1st) Club ( 3rd).

C Grade Division 2: Club (1st) Town (2nd).

The decision follows a club/association update from Cricket Victoria on Tuesday, March 17.

“In the best interests of cricket participants and the wider community, this communication outlines how Australian cricket will do our part to further protect players, staff, volunteers and match officials at all levels of the game plus the wider community during the global coronavirus pandemic,” the Cricket Victoria statement read.

“Cricket Australia, in consultation with its State and Territory Associations, has cancelled the Marsh Sheffield Shield final for 2019/20 and Cricket Victoria has taken the further step of cancelling all Premier Cricket finals from this week onwards.

“We expect local community cricket and school competitions to take the same leadership position and cancel all cricket playing and training activity for the remainder of the 2019/20 season in response to this unprecedented global health issue.

“This expectation also applies to competitions that are just starting or about to commence in some parts of the country. Where relevant, we will work with these associations to minimise this disruption over the coming weeks and months. This is an evolving issue and decisions on starting or recommencing should be made carefully in line with government advice and direction from Cricket Australia and Cricket Victoria.

“We know many people in cricket communities around Australia will be disappointed with this decision, but it has been made in our communities’ best interests in consultation with government and expert medical advice from Cricket Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, John Orchard.

“We acknowledge that this is a more extreme step than communicated in previous weeks, but our advice now is that the risks of playing organised sport at any level are too high to safely continue.

“We also recommend that all clubs and associations consider the cancellation or postponement of end of season functions.

“As all communities, organisations and institutions around the world rally to slow the spread of the coronavirus, so must Australian cricket. We hope that by taking these actions now we can play a small part in ‘flattening the curve’ and stemming the spread of the virus.

“For any further information, please read our FAQs here.

“Our number one priority is to the cricket communities that we lead and serve, as well as their families. Thank you for your commitment to cricket in your community. All of our thoughts are with you and your families as you navigate these uncertain times.”