NORTHERN cricket administrators are confident that the NTCA season will get under way next weekend after being forced to declare this weekend's opening round of games a washout.
The board met this week and said that with only one of the six venues definitely available they were left with no choice.
Prolonged rain has saturated the grounds leaving only NTCA No. 2 playable, with Riverside's Windsor Park considered borderline and the NTCA No. 1, Mowbray's Invermay Park, George Town and Westbury all still out of action.
Cricket Tasmania Northern administrator David Fry confirmed yesterday that the three first grade games scheduled for tomorrow, Westbury Shamrocks v George Town, South Launceston v Launceston and Riverside v Mowbray, would all be declared washouts along with second grade.
Effectively, the first grade season will begin next Saturday when Mowbray hosts South, Riverside travels to George Town and Launceston welcomes Westbury to the NTCA No. 1.
``It is frustrating for all concerned and most unfortunate because everyone is ready to go,'' Fry said.
``Cricket started in Hobart last weekend and the Ryobi Cup is up and running in New South Wales but we're still waiting.
``Tasmania is notorious for slow starts but it has been particularly bad this year.
``The rain in July and August saturated the grounds and the rain since has just been laying on top.
``We just have not had the sunshine and wind we need to dry out the grounds.''
Fry said Invermay Park is always late to become available as it is also used for the Launceston Show but it had been disappointing that neither George Town nor Westbury had been able to get a roller on to their grounds yet.
He said the NTCA No. 1 had been rolled this week and should be fit to host the women's interstate fixture between Tasmania and NSW on October 25.
``As long as we get reasonable weather this week and not too much rain we should be ready to go next weekend.''
Some clubs are taking advantage of the NTCA No. 2 Ground being available, with Launceston holding an intraclub match yesterday, South taking on George Town tomorrow and then hosting its own intraclub contest on Sunday.
*** Read PHIL EDWARDS'S extensive NTCA season preview in The Sunday Examiner this week.