The deepening fire crisis in the Northern Villages has been blamed for the abandonment of all tomorrow’s Highland cricket matches.
A host of local players are on call to fight fires while at least two of the shire’s cricket grounds are currently being used as helipads.
Highlands Cricket Association secretary Mark Redmond conceded that cancellation was the only option left.
“It is the most appropriate thing to do and it’s not fair for the players and teams that have to forfeit for reasons beyond their control,” he said.
“There’s a lot more to worry about than cricket this weekend.”
Both first and second grade were due to play a two day match and will now revert to a one dayer next week.
The scheduled third grade one day matches will be cancelled.
Redmond, who is in the rural fire service himself, also sighted the large contingent of players in the service as a further reason to postpone proceedings.
“A lot of members are involved in the rural fire service,” he said.
“Both Welby and Hill Top are also being used as helipads.
“And because Hill Top have been involved in evacuations, the club was really struggling to get numbers together.
“The Picton area is also in the danger zone and has been closed off in a number of areas.”
And Redmond reacted angrily to suggestions that the association had acted prematurely in calling the round of matches off when they made the announcement on Wednesday.
“This is not something that happened out of the blue and we spoke to all the relevant clubs,” he said.
“In fact, they were all very happy and most of them were actually expecting this to happen anyway.”
In other local cricket news, the much-anticipated clash between a visiting Indian under-19s side and southern zone 19s has been put back a day.
The match was originally set down for January 12 but organisers have instead opted to play the match on Friday, January 11.
“It’s a blessing in disguise really because now more players will be available for selection in the Southern Zone side,” Redmond said.