The ongoing drought across the Western Cape has forced another reduction in matches across the 2017-18 Western Province Cricket Association season. Almost 500 fixtures were lost to the severe water shortage earlier this year.
The premier league and first division A have not been affected. The 12 teams will still play 11 matches each.
Teams will play each other once in the first divisions B, C and D. They had been scheduled to play each other twice. The top four teams in the standings toward the end of the season will compete in the semi-finals – and the winners of those, the final.
Fixtures in reserve divisions A and B have been cut from 11 to five. Each division will be split into two groups, which will be drawn before the end of the month. The top team from each group at the end of the five fixtures will compete in the final. The finalists of reserve division B will not be promoted – and the teams at the bottom of the standings, including reserve division A, will not be relegated.
Reserve C, D, E and second division matches have also been halved. Teams will play each other once. They had been scheduled to play each other twice. The top four teams in the standings toward the end of the season will compete in the semi-finals – and the winners of those, the final. The finalists of reserve division C, however, will not be promoted to reserve division B.
The WPCA proposed third divisions A and B matches be reduced to seven per club, with an additional three – quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final – afforded to the best performers. However, the recommendation was rejected – and all third division fixtures will continue as scheduled.
“It is incumbent on the players, supporters and the full spectrum of sport-loving families to support the city of Cape Town in its set plans to address this situation – and to restore the situation to within the limitations of level five water restrictions,” said WPCA president Beresford Williams.
“Together, we as an urban family, must rise to the challenge during a critical juncture of the city’s existence. But we can ensure our supporters that the club game will always remain true to our heart and a pillar of WPCA’s existence.”
The women’s premier and promotional leagues have gone unaffected, too.