Updated: Oct 20, 2021
MELBOURNE’S extended lockdown has delayed the start of North Central League finals.
President Tim Lockhart confirmed the semi-finals will now be held on September 4 and 5, two weeks later than planned.
“It’s a tricky situation and we just hope that Melbourne players will be able to play by then,” he said.
“The board decided to wait as long as we can but the finals will start regardless on the first weekend of September.”
Melbourne’s current lockdown has been extended to September 2.
All North Central clubs have Melbourne players but most impacted is likely to be Donald, sitting fourth on the ladder and meeting Wedderburn in the first semi.
Donald forfeited their senior and reserve matches at the weekend, unable to field sides because of Melbourne restrictions. Wycheproof Narraport also again forfeited matches.
The Royal Blues have had the most interrupted season of the league’s nine clubs, either through Lockdown abandoned games or Melbourne-based players unable to travel to the country.
They had some strong results in recent games and are considered capable of giving higher-placed rivals at least a shake and possibly causing an upset.
Lockhart said it would be “a very slow two weeks” as the level of Melbourne restrictions was assessed.
The league expected that having crowds might remain impossible at finals, Lockhart said. “But unless there are changes in country restrictions, we play in a fortnight.”