The prospect of Earl Eddings being challenged as Cricket Australia chairman has receded following the outcome of the Cricket Victoria board elections.
Former Dandenong Cricket Cub president Ross Hepburn and the women’s Premier panel chair Penelope Cleghorn took the two seats ahead of Essendon Cricket Club president Simon Tobin and auditor Amanda Bond.
If the latter two had filled the vacancies it could have led to the replacement of Cricket Victoria chairman Paul Barker by the former WACA delegate Peter Williams, a long-time adversary of CA’s independent board and Eddings.
Eddings only retained his place as CA chairman in 2019 by moving from his place as the Cricket Victoria-nominated director to one of the three places reserved for independents after his home state withdrew its support.
Amid the fallout from Covid-19, with Queensland and New South Wales challenging proposed reductions in state grants, there has been talk of governance reform at CA board level with greater representation handed back to the state associations.
Both Hepburn and Cleghorn represent areas that were subject to vicious staff and funding cutbacks earlier this year when Cricket Victoria announced savings measures under the cover of the Covid-19 pandemic, slashing resources to community, women’s and junior cricket while not touching the annual distributions to premier clubs.
Those decisions had been viewed as grounds for Melbourne Premier Clubs to question the leadership of Barker and the Cricket Victoria chief executive Andrew Ingleton, when it is all other areas of Victorian cricket that have suffered most grievously as a result.
“From the Board’s perspective, our core focus is on putting Victorian cricket on a course to return to play when it is safe to do so and a broader sustainable path for the future,” Barker said following the elections. “A significant volume of work will go into supporting our cricket community in adopting health measures which will require flexibility throughout the season.”
“That said, there are cautious signs for optimism, and we are hopeful that we will be able to deliver a cricket season which can help re-engage a healthy and active Victorian community.”