Cricket Victoria (CV) has hosted the best junior female cricketers competing in the Cricket Australia Under 18 Female Championships in Ballarat from 2012 to 2014. The Championships are held during January of each year and there is potential for extreme heat and UV conditions to impact the event. As a National event, First Class Playing Conditions (a Cricket Australia policy) govern the competition and as such there is no blanket heat policy covering the event. The six states, ACT and an invited team from Auckland contribute teams to the event, resulting in a significant planning and logistical task for organisers.
In January 2014 the competition experienced several days of extreme heat leading up to, and including, the first three days of competition:
13 Jan - 36.3 degrees
14 Jan - 41.3 degrees
15 Jan - 39 degrees (day one)
16 Jan - 38 degrees (day two)
17 Jan - 40.6 degrees (day three)
The competition is comprised of one day (50 overs), across four days and twenty20 fixtures (two days). With two twenty20 games scheduled to take place over day three of the competition, an interval period of three hours and 15 minutes was introduced between 11:45am and 3:00pm. This was an increase from the original scheduled break between 12:45PM and 2:15PM outlined in the original Playing Conditions.
This allowed for athletes and officials to be out of the sun for the hottest period of the day. The schedule therefore appeared as follows:
|Game One||9:00am||10:15am - 10:30am||11:45am|
|Game Two||3:00pm||4:15pm - 4:30pm||5:45pm|
CV has acknowledged that recovery plays an important role in injury prevention and instigated a designated recovery centre that was hosted at nearby St Patrick's College.
The recovery centre was managed by Federation University students as part of their placement hours and comprised two ice baths and hot and cold showers.
Teams were required to advise whether they will take advantage of the facilities on offer, and if so were entered into a timetable to ensure all teams had sufficient usage of the centre.
Additionally, the indoor pool at Ballarat Clarendon College was made available for players. To ensure safety, one member of the team support staff was required to be present at all times at the pool, in addition to two YMCA lifeguards.
An air conditioned function room was provided at St Patricks for players to eat lunch. Whilst all players were required to eat lunch at St Patricks in an air conditioned function room, teams and players had the choice to use Ballarat Clarendon College or their own facilities at their accommodation during the interval for recovery activities.
The success of the midday interval and recovery centre was confirmed with the results of the Evaluation Survey indicating 45 (100%) participants felt the initiatives were beneficial. Further, 42 (93%) participants indicated they felt the Heat Management Strategies were communicated clearly, which is a positive especially considering the short notice which invariably accompanies extreme weather events.
Sports Medicine Australia recommends, in their UV Exposure and Heat Illness Guide, that activities occurring on days of 36 degrees celsius or more should be modified or rescheduled to cooler parts of the day or a cooler location. With the modified game times and indoor recovery centres, Cricket Victoria has ensured this event has run according to these recommendations. Key to the approach of CV in this scenario is flexibility, without a rigid policy in place it was important practical and achievable modifications were implemented to ensure the safety of the participants, volunteers, coaches and parents.
If you have queries about extreme heat strategies or policies that could be implemented at your Club or Association, please contact Cricket Victoria at: (03) 9653 1100