The annual Lismore and Ballina cricket carnivals have been cancelled due to COVID-19. Photo Ursula Bentley@CapturedAus.
The annual Lismore and Ballina cricket carnivals have been cancelled due to COVID-19. Photo Ursula Bentley@CapturedAus.

Stumps pulled on cricket carnivals after 30+ years

Coronavirus restrictions have bowled over any chance of the popular Lismore and Ballina age-group cricket carnivals going ahead in 2021.

This year was meant to be the 37th annual Lismore cricket carnival with players playing at Casino and Lismore from January 5 to January 9.

This year would have been the 31st annual Ballina cricket carnival.

The tournaments bring together the best age group talent from across NSW and southern Queensland to compete in the popular carnival.

Stan Gilchrist said that the competitions were an important pathway for young cricketers entering the game.

"They get opportunities for a lot of things; for a lot of those kids it's the first opportunity for some serious coaching, first opportunity to be part of a serious team and it steps above the just play for fun," Mr Gilchrist said.

Mr Gilchrist recalled seeing state cricketers Simon Milenko and Tom Cooper come through the Northern Rivers carnivals.

"Paul McLean didn't go onto anything more than NSW second XI but he's now a very highly regarded coach in Lismore area," he said.

"It doesn't always lead to state or test (selection) sometimes it just leads to being part and helping develop cricket and young players that way."

In a post on the Lismore Cricket Carnival Facebook page, it was confirmed that due to the COVID-19 restrictions on travel, the tournament must be cancelled.

"This is not a decision that has been taken lightly. We understand the level of planning, commitment and expense it takes teams to organise to attend an event such as this, by volunteers and parents alike," the post explained.

"The Carnival is also a major boost for our local economy in Lismore, something else we are disappointed in not providing for our local businesses."

In a post on the Ballina Cricket Carnival Facebook page last week, the organisers highlighted the "daily uncertainty" as a reason to scrap the carnival.

"We decided to delay our decision as we looked towards holding a revised draw with 8-10 teams however, with daily uncertainty and the threat of constant changes, we were left with no other choice," the post read.

"The safety of all players, coaches and supporters is our priority."

 

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