The local cricket community were left disappointed by the cancellation of all play on Sunday at the DTC Mobile Hong Kong T20 Blitz at Mission Road.
But there was also a measure of hope that the authorities will now see the importance of having a ground specially for the sport.
Although it hardly rained on Sunday – and the sun shone at intervals – the Hong Kong Cricket Association (HKCA) cancelled play at 8.15am.
The decision frustrated the owners of joint winners Kowloon Cantons, who had brought in former Australia captain Michael Clarke to play for them and who ended up sharing the title with Woodworm Island Warriors. The other teams were Hung Hom JD Jaguars and GII Lantau Galaxy Riders.
“It’s difficult to understand how a national body [HKCA] does not have its own ground,” said Urvashi Sethi, one of the Cantons owners. “It’s the first time Hong Kong is hosting a tournament like this and we don’t have a ground that is playable when the sun is shining because of the rain the day before.
“This tournament has the potential to become bigger than the [rugby] sevens. It’s a wake-up call. We’re not blaming anyone but we’re just questioning why the [HKCA] can’t take control of a ground.”
Hung Hom JD Jaguars’ Chris Carter, 18, said a specialised cricket ground was needed in the city.
“A lack of facilities has been a problem here for a while,” said the University of Hong Kong student. “Having a modern ground with good drainage, practice facilities and seating would be highly beneficial to the success of the sport here.”
Australian umpire Paul Wilson made the call on Sunday morning after an inspection. The problem area was the lowest parts of the Mission Road outfield, according to tournament chief Max Abbot, who said the HKCA was making efforts to take greater control of the venue.
Currently, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) is responsible for maintaining the ground, which has been approved as an official one-day venue for associate members by world governing body ICC.
The first match last Friday was reduced to a five-over game; on Saturday, one game had to be decided by the Duckworth/Lewis
(D/L) method while the third match was abandoned after five overs. The D/L method is used to help decide one-day cricket matches interrupted by rain.
Abbot was reluctant to blame the LCSD, saying the government department did all it could to make the ground ready given they only had two months’ notice.
However, he agreed that the HKCA needed a ground of its own.
Despite the cancellation of all play on Sunday, Carter insisted that young cricketers like him gained some valuable experiences at the T20 tournament.
“I played against cricket superstar Michael Clarke on Saturday. Playing against him is a great experience for me, as he is someone I idolised while growing up in Australia. Playing at this international tournament has motivated me to be the best I can be, and allowed me to see what level of professionalism and skill is required to be the best,” said Carter.
GII Lantau Galaxy Riders’ Awais Mohammad said the tournament enabled him to identify his strengths and weaknesses.
“I am good at hitting, but I need to improve my ground shots. I need to work hard to compete against other top cricketers in the future,” said the 19-year-old from Caritas Tuen Mun Marden Foundation Secondary School.