NEXT TIME: Softballers like Courtney Peckwill have to wait until next season for another shot at finals glory after this weekend’s games were called off.

Picture: Rob Williams
NEXT TIME: Softballers like Courtney Peckwill have to wait until next season for another shot at finals glory after this weekend’s games were called off. Picture: Rob Williams

Softball finals the latest coronavirus casualty

MAJOR semi-final winners will take out Ipswich Softball premierships in all age groups after the association cancelled Saturday's grand finals due to coronavirus.

Acting on advice from the sport's governing bodies, officials decided on Wednesday night to call off the season-defining matches scheduled to be played at the Chubb Street headquarters this weekend and award the titles to the first team to qualify in accordance with the competition's washout rule.

Tigers president Derek Doyle said it was immensely disappointing for players, coaches and supporters to miss the most important game of their campaigns.

"Softball Queensland and Softball Australia put out advice for local competitions to cease," he said.

"The players are upset. We've seen that on all of the team chat forums but it is definitely not a surprise."

Ipswich Softball had been considering a range of preventative measures designed to reduce the risk of infection in order to allow the finals to be played.

Canteens were to be closed, game times and locations spaced out, crowds and anyone non-essential had been asked not to attend and hygienic wash stations equipped with hand sanitiser were to be installed in every dugout as an added precaution.

Games were also to be livestreamed to give supporters the opportunity to watch safely.

Doyle said the association did its best to make it possible for the decisive clashes to go ahead but ultimately the decision needed to me made in the face of the escalating pandemic.

He said other sporting codes were acting responsibly to slow the spread of coronavirus and lessen the impact on the health system, so Ipswich Softball had followed suit.

"I understand having to stop it," he said.

"It really has snowballed in the last two days.

"We can't be the lone soldier going ahead when everyone else has called it off."

Having cut short its season, Ipswich Softball is the latest sporting organisation forced to act as the coronavirus scourge sweeps the nation.

After collaborating with the nine state and territory federations to consider the latest coronavirus developments, Foot-ball Federation Australia said sanctioned grassroots football competitions and associated training would be suspended for four weeks.

Rugby League Ipswich has delayed the start of its competition, as has the region's netball association. The Ipswich Logan Hornets have been left devastated, with the worsening crisis prompting the cancellation of the Queensland Premier Grade Cricket grand final and robbing them of the chance to take on University for a maiden crown.

Willowbank Raceway officials have cancelled the Santo's Super Thunder Championship Drag Racing event scheduled for Good Friday.

As a result of the directive handed down by Softball Australia, the Ipswich association has also postponed the under-14 Queensland titles, which would have featured eight teams from around the state converging on the city to take part from April 4.

Organisers will wait to see how the coronavirus threat develops before setting a revised date for the tournament.

Doyle was relieved, however, it was not abandoned altogether at this stage because the region's economy would suffer a significant loss, with Ipswich Softball and local businesses, including motels and eateries to miss out on much-needed income.

"Hopefully this thing curls around and normality returns, and we can put it back on again," Doyle said.

• Bomber's Blast, page 31

Ipswich Softball Association premiers

Under 12: Tigers

Under 14: Tigers

Under 16: Southside Stingers

Ladies C: Raiders Red

Ladies B Green: Rebels

Ladies B White: Murray Taipans Black

Men B White: Rebels

Men B Green: Tigers Black

A Ladies: Tigers

A Men: Tigers