HAIL: Cricket round white out as hail turns fields into ice rinks
CRICKET: Play was called off early across all of the Clarence River Cricket Association matches at the weekend after a freak hail storm rolled in to the Clarence Valley just after play started at 1pm.
Players were left to scramble to put the covers on the turf wickets and find shelter in cars and under trees as hail stones the size of golf balls began to fall.
For some sides, like Brothers Clocktower Hotel Premier League outfit, the hail storm was a frustration after they had already taken two early wickets in the first three overs against GDSC Easts at McKittrick Park.
While for South Services second grade, who were struggling at 4-4 off the first three overs against Westlawn at Lower Fisher Park, the storm was more of a godsend.
Association secretary Judy Disson said while there is no official law in the game's constitution about hail stones and wet weather, the decision to call off play was made pretty swiftly by umpires and captains.
"For the most part, cricket was called off because the grounds were soaked - the hail was sitting on the grounds for quite some time, and it meant play could not resume," she said.
"The umpires are left to make that decision in the top grades, and for the games without umpires (lower grades) it is a decision made by both captains.
"I think everybody called it off at the same time."
With stones the size of golf balls falling from the heavens, Disson said it was also a matter of player safety to call off the games.
"Player safety would have definitely been a factor in the decision," she said. "I have never seen a hail storm like that one. It came out of nowhere.
"There was no green sky like you usually get with hail storms and all the pieces were big and jagged. I have never seen hail like it."
Disson said the one good takeaway from the decision was all matches were one-day clashes and that it would not affect the standings of the competition too drastically.
"At the end of the day we just have to take the draw," she said. "It's a new game next weekend."
For second grade players, that was the final weekend of play before the Christmas break, with the season resuming on January 20.