The city’s cricket fields will be eerily quiet on Saturday afternoon after the Dubbo District Cricket Association cancelled all games due to the “severe” and “extreme heatwave”.
But it was not a decision the board took lightly, president Jeff Shanks said, with Saturday to mark just the second time ever the association has cancelled the cricket due to heat.
The first time was in February 2017 when temperatures were forecast to reach 45 degrees on the second Saturday of two-day games.
That day ended up being Dubbo’s hottest on record – 46.1 degrees.
Broken Hill, White Cliffs, Wilcannia, Ivanhoe, Albury and Narrandera have all broken their all time maximum temp records today. While Deniliquin, Yanco and Condobolin have set new records for the month January. Full #NSW details: https://t.co/AIwC8xjgsO#Heatwavepic.twitter.com/TJ7Y4uBhh6— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) January 16, 2019
It was a unanimous decision by the board, with Shanks calling on other associations across the region to “follow our lead”.
“Basically due to the extreme heatwave we’ve been experiencing this week, and by the time we get to Saturday it will have been seven days straight of over 40 degrees,” Shanks said.
Friday night’s McDonalds Megahit competition has also been called off with a top of 44 degrees forecast, while on Saturday the mercury is predicted to climb to 42 degrees.
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“While that’s within our hot weather policy, we’re taking into account that seven days straight of extreme heat takes a toll on people’s bodies,” Shanks said.
“We don’t think it’s in the players’ welfare, or the umpires’ welfare, to be going out there and playing Saturday.
“We’re aware that we play cricket in summer when it’s hot, and there’s plenty of days we play when it’s over 40 degrees. But fortunately the board was unanimous on the decision.”
Heat stress is something Shanks has first-hand knowledge of, after playing in 45 degree temperatures back in 2013.
“As it turned out in that game [in 2013], I actually scored 98 runs that day … we were having drinks every over … but I paid a massive, massive price for it,” he said.
A 13% increase in the death rate & 14% jump in people going to Emergency. Those are the figures from @NSWHealth for 2011's #heatwave & the reason these conditions aren't "just abit of summer heat". Those temps on the map..that's 6 o'clock last night! @nswpolice@NSWRFS@ACT_ESApic.twitter.com/OrcZYLCzLJ— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) January 15, 2019
“I was out in the field the entire day, but I was probably lucky I didn’t end up in hospital from heat stroke. I ended up laid in a bath full of water as cold as it possibly it could be, cramped severely that night and ended up crook for the next two or three days.
“We’ve had plenty of other hot days where we’ve played, but it’s really the awareness of heatwaves the impacts on us [that has changed].”
This weekend’s games will not be replayed, but instead counted as a draw.
Newtown Tigers quick Steve Skinner said his RSL-Whitney Cup side – who leapfrogged their way into first place last weekend – had been keen to face the third-placed CYMS on Saturday.
“We always want to play and obviously try and beat the top teams,” Skinner said.
Records have already tumbled but the high intensity #heatwave hammering #NSW & #Canberra hasn't peaked yet. Numerous people have already needed medical help & fire bans are in place in #NSW & #ACT. Your area is here https://t.co/Tuf5pFK11c@NSWRFS@nswpolice@NSWHealth@ACT_ESApic.twitter.com/YGhsC2W6S7— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) January 16, 2019
“They’re obviously playing pretty well this year, so it would have been a good opportunity for us to have a crack at them.”
Missing Friday night’s Twenty20 double-header – where the WPA Cougars were set to face Christies Crackerjacks before the Amaroo Hotel Tigers took on the Castlereagh Hornets – was also “disappointing”.
“Everyone likes playing in the Friday night games [under lights],” Skinner said.
“It’s a good opportunity for the guys that don’t normally get to play in the higher grades to have a run.
“But it’ll be right and we’ll be back the following week.”