05/01/2021 - 15:30

Sports face scheduling issues

05/01/2021 - 15:30

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Cricket Australia has become the latest sporting association to make changes to its match schedule in light of travel restrictions, having deferred the opening fixtures of the WNCL.

The 2020-21 NBL fixture shows several confirmed matches to be held at RAC Arena. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Cricket Australia has become the latest sporting association to make changes to its match schedule in light of travel restrictions, having deferred the opening fixtures of the Women’s National Cricket League by nearly two weeks.

The changes mean the WA women’s team will begin its season against Queensland at the Allan Border Field in Brisbane on January 27, and that Perth fans will have to wait until February 28 for a home game.

WA’s home-town matches will be against the ACT and South Australia at the WACA Cricket Ground on February 28 and March 3, respectively. Both matches were originally scheduled for this month.

The WNCL final remains scheduled for March 27 and will be played at the home venue of the highest-ranked team. WA will be looking to retain the Ruth Preddy Cup after claiming its first WNCL title last season, with a 42-run victory over NSW.

WA head coach Becky Grundy said changes to the fixture would ensure WNCL could play out the full season.

“We understand we need to remain flexible as we navigate through the challenges of scheduling cricket during the pandemic,” she said.

“We are all really looking forward to having cricket back at the WACA ground next month and playing in front of our members and fans.”

The changes come about two weeks after the Australian Football League released its 2021 fixture, but with dates and times confirmed for only the first six matches of the season. It begins with a game between Richmond and Carlton at the MCG on March 18.

AFL executive general manager of clubs and broadcasting, Travis Auld, said scheduling the season in 'blocks' provided the flexibility to adjust where required.

“We must not lose sight of the ongoing pandemic,” he said late last month.

“We will remain diligent and take every precaution, both at clubs during the week and in stadiums on match day, to ensure the health and wellbeing of everyone continues to be a priority.

“… As our recent season demonstrated, our clubs and industry have the resilience and open-mindness to adapt where needed to keep footy going for the fans.”

The timeslots for the next block of matches is expected to be released once the season begins.

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