Crucial night cricket clash called off
UPDATE 2.30pm: The top of the table Cleavers Mechanical Night Cricket clash between Harwood and Brothers has been called off at McKittrick Park.
The clash which was meant to begin at 5.30pm today was under a cloud after heavy rainfall overnight.
Despite the best efforts of Clarence River Cricket Association curator Tony Blanch, the wicket has not had enough time to dry out after the deluge, with the man in charge making a final decision this afternoon.
With no opportunity to roll out the wicket which he described as a "mud pit", Blanch decided it was too dangerous to allow players to take the field.
Also with finals cricket only a fortnight away, Blanch said focus had to put into preserving pitches as best as possible.
Both sides will receive four points for the abandoned clash, keeping them joint leaders at the top of the table on 29 competition points and out of reach of third-placed Tucabia Copmanhurst, who have a game in hand.
EARLIER: A mouth-watering top of the table clash between Harwood and Brothers is in serious doubt for Cleavers Mechanical Night Cricket tonight.
The wicket at McKittrick Park has been left in dire straits after more than 17mm of rain fell in the Grafton region overnight.
Clarence River Cricket Association curator Tony Blanch said he will give the wicket as much time as possible to recover, but said it was "very doubtful" the clash would go ahead as scheduled.
"Taking a look over the wicket now, I am 99% sure they won't play on it," he said. "It is completely saturated and I can't get a roller on to it to prepare the surface.
"But I will give it every chance I can to dry out over today."
Blanch said the final decision on whether play went ahead would be made at 2pm after the wicket was exposed to any potential sun and wind.
The stakes are high for both clubs in the limited overs fixture, with both Harwood and Brothers sitting on top of the night cricket standings with 25 points a piece.
The winner of the clash will ultimately take the minor premiership, and the wash-out advantage into the night cricket decider on March 16.
"This is a crucial game in terms of the make up of the night cricket finals so I know the players are desperate to get out there," Blanch said.
"We all want cricket to go ahead so I will be giving them the best chance we can."