Nelson Bay cricketers will play under modified conditions, if they take the pitch at all on Saturday.
The Newcastle Junior Cricket Association has reduced the number of overs and urged clubs including Nelson Bay to carefully watch players.
Meanwhile the Maitland and District Cricket Association, which governs Raymond Terrace and Wallalong, has cancelled Saturday matches entirely.
Player and umpire welfare in the extreme heat conditions left officials “no choice” but to cancel Maitland cricket fixtures on Saturday, Maitland and District Cricket Assocaition president Brian Hammonds said.
“I think a few people are disappointed, but in the end I hope they remember cricket’s a team sport and we need to look out for all our teammates and umpires,” Hammonds said.
“The forecast temperature is 45, but that’s in the shade, out in the middle it would be 50-plus and that’s simply too dangerous for player and umpire safety.”
In an official statement posted online this morning, Hammonds said “ A number of surrounding associations including C&S, Cessnock, HVCC have all cancelled Saturday matches .
“It would irresponsible for us to put players and officials at risk in the extreme conditions.
“As such all matches set down for [Saturday] have been cancelled 1st and 2nd grade will be played as a one day game next weekend.”
Maitland and District Junior Cricket Association president Glen Findley also posted a statement confirming all Maitland district junior matches including Milo Cricket had been called off.
“Over the last few days I have been monitoring the forecast and have been discussing options with the MDJCA committee, members of the MDCA and HVJCC. I have also kept an eye on the opinions of the cricketing community via Facebook,” Findley said.
“What I have gathered from this is that the forecast has not changed - we are likely to see our record temperature reached two days running.
“The other thing that has become apparent is that people’s opinions around what is an acceptable heat in which to play cricket differ significantly.
“This is the reason that I believe decisions on player welfare in extreme conditions are the responsibility of the respective associations. It is simply not fair to leave clubs, coaches, captains or individual players/parents to have to justify a decision not to play.”
Newcastle Junior Cricket Association announced on Thursday night, in a statement on its webpage, that clubs would play albeit with fewer overs.
All matches will commence at 8.10am
Under 11 matches will be reduced to 16 overs per side.
Under 14 Division 1 will play either one T20 match or two 10/10 matches
All 30 over matches will be reduced to 20 over matches with the following restrictions:
Batting retirement will be 30 runs for Under 12s and 40 runs for all other age groups.
Bowlers will be restricted to a maximum of four overs to be bowled in a maximum of two over spells
“We encourage all players, coaches, umpires and spectators to ensure that everyone has plenty of fluid before, during and after the match,” the statement read.
“Umpires will allow additional drinks breaks. We also encourage you to speak to the umpire about allowing a person on the field supplying drinks at all times (preferably in a high visability vest) in a similar way to other football codes.”
The association also stressed that “under no circumstance should a child in distress be made to remain on the field”.
The NJCA has said it will continue to monitor the weather and if we determine that circumstances become too extreme a decision will be made to cancel all matches by 7am Saturday morning.
In other sport Football Federation Australia has postponed Saturday’s A-League game between the Newcastle Jets and Melbourne Victory due to the forecast heatwave.
The game will be played at 7.50pm on Monday at McDonald Jones Stadium, giving the Jets a four-day turnaround before next Friday night’s trip to Adelaide.
Jets coach Mark Jones said after training on Thursday that player welfare was of “utmost importance”.