Cape Town - Newlands will continue to host domestic franchise and international matches, despite the Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA) taking the unprecedented step on Wednesday of terminating all club and school cricket with immediate effect due to the water restrictions in place in the city.
Newlands hosted the Momentum One-Day Cup semi-final between the Cape Cobras and Dolphins on Wednesday, and is due to host the third ODI between South Africa and India on Wednesday. This will be followed by the third T20 International on February 24, before the Proteas lock horns with Australia in the third Test on March 22.
Nabeal Dien, chief executive of the WPCA, said the board was unanimous in deciding to take this major step. “We are only going to focus on provincial fixtures for women and men, while also hosting international events against India and Australia with the permission and assistance of the City of Cape Town,” Dien said.
“We are constantly liaising with the city in regard to using less water at the ground. All our public toilets around the ground are closed on non-match days. We will be challenged around the Australia Test match because ahead of the New Year Test match against India, we were still allowed to use borehole water.
"The curator (Evan Flint) will stick to the rules, but we are researching the possibility of tapping the borehole into the municipal supply and getting Newlands off the municipal water grid.”
Level 6B water restrictions are in effect from Thursday.
WPCA had made the decision to halve the senior club’s season fixtures due to the City of Cape Town’s concerns of there being insufficient water to service municipal facilities in July last year.
It then further cut fixtures in October last year after minimal rain during the winter months.
The season commenced and even though there was a deterioration of club facilities, 90% of the first half of fixtures were completed.
However, at the beginning of the year, and after further concerns, two meetings were held with senior city officials to discuss their various interventions for sport in the city.
However, after an announcement that municipal fields would be closed, mainly because of the poor ratings of facilities on the new triage system and no access to water, the WPCA had no choice but to put a hold on all amateur cricket.
“It is with great sadness and regret that we have been forced into this position, but we have to take the bigger picture into account about the situation the city finds itself it,” said WPCA services manager Clinton du Preez. “We have looked at various options to try and complete our season within the time frame, but cannot find a practical solution.
“We also understand the impact it will have on all our clubs and juniors, especially in terms of dwindling interest due to the lack of game time. It could have a serious impact.
"We have already seen the quality of our cricket drop over the course of the season due to the poor state of our fields and pitches,” Du Preez said.