An over-60s cricket tournament may find itself without a home following a dispute between Goulburn Murray Cricket and Campaspe Shire.
Tournament organisers have been told they will not be able to use Kyabram Recreational Reserve as Kyabram Football Club will be using the ground for practice matches.
Goulburn Murray Cricket spokesman Cameron Kervin believes council had preferenced football over cricket, despite an agreement between AFL Victoria and Cricket Victoria regarding the use of grounds.
‘‘We’ve basically been kicked off the Kyabram ground three weeks earlier than usual,’’ Kervin said.
An agreement was struck between AFL Victoria and Cricket Victoria in 2013 which said football season began on April 1, running to September 30, with football clubs holding exclusive use of grounds where a cricket and football club were co-tenants.
During the remaining parts of the year, cricket clubs have exclusive rights to grounds.
‘‘We’re disappointed in the council for how this has been handled,’’ Kervin said.
According to GMC, paperwork was submitted earlier this year for the tournament.
However, the dates were later changed with the paperwork not updated.
‘‘We concede we didn’t handle that perfectly,’’ Kervin said.
‘‘We are a mostly volunteer organisation, so getting all of these things organised is often quite difficult.
‘‘Once we realised it was an issue we have attempted to make the changes.’’
The council told GMC the paperwork would need to be updated.
‘‘We’ve gone to make the changes and have been informed they weren’t in possession of the paperwork at the time, so they were going to send it to me before the end of the day,’’ Kervin said.
‘‘I received an email that afternoon saying the ground was unavailable and as of Monday they would hand the ground over to the football club.’’
Council said the competition did not have a booking for the ground.
‘‘GMC sent an email on February 27 wanting to ensure the Kyabram oval was booked,’’ shire general manager of regulatory and community services Paul McKenzie said.
‘‘Unfortunately, the reserve had not been booked by GMC via the appropriate process. Council advised GMC on February 28 that the grounds had already been booked for football activities and provided contacts for alternative reserves that may have been suitable.’’
Kyabram has two planned practice matches across the next two weekends, while the cricket tournament was planned for weekdays starting next week.
Kyabram Football Club president Mark Schumann said the club did not have an issue with the ground being used midweek.
‘‘It’s both of our grounds and it’s still cricket season,’’ Schumann said.
‘‘We’ve gone the right way in booking the ground, but we only need it on the Saturdays of those two weeks. As far as the midweek is concerned, we have no issue with the cricketers using it.’’
Kervin said the issue was with council.
‘‘We don’t have an issue with Kyabram wanting to use the ground, both can easily use it. We know Ky did the right thing with the booking of the ground as well,’’ he said.
‘‘Our issue is with the council handing the ground over and effectively kicking us out.’’
Not being able to use the ground has both a negative impact on the club and the competition, Kervin said.
‘‘We started planning this late last year,’’ he said.
‘‘In that process we put the feelers out to clubs who could make $500 a day as hosts and Kyabram took us up on that.
‘‘They’ve basically been denied the opportunity to make $2000.
‘‘As for the competition, it’s not as easy as find another ground. We need a cricket ground that is prepared and ready for play.’’
Council believes this is simply an unfortunate situation.
‘‘This is an unfortunate scheduling challenge of two different disciplines that require different field standards,’’ McKenzie said.
‘‘GMC does not have any agreements in place, nor did they notify council of the requirement of the Kyabram reserve until February 27.’’