NEWCASTLE Cricket chief executive Ivan Spyrdz said all local competitions would proceed as normal this weekend because Phillip Hughes’ family wanted the game to go on.
‘‘They want cricket to continue, Phillip would want cricket to continue and by all means they want Sean Abbott to continue playing,’’ Spyrdz said from Hughes’ home town of Macksville on Friday.
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NEWCASTLE Cricket chief executive Ivan Spyrdz said all local competitions would go ahead this weekend because Phillip Hughes’ family wanted the game to continue.
The Newcastle District Cricket Association, Newcastle City and Suburban and Newcastle Junior Cricket Association discussed suspending play as a mark of respect for Hughes, who died on Thursday after being hit in the head by a bouncer from Sean Abbott.
Cricket NSW has left the decision on whether to play or not with its various zones.
Spyrdz has been in Hughes’ home town of Macksville since Wednesday, offering support on behalf of Cricket NSW.
After speaking with the Hughes family’s close friend and spokesman, Anthony Miles, Spyrdz said the message was clear – keep playing cricket.
‘‘He [Miles] has repeatedly said today that this is exactly what the Hughes family wants and what the Macksville community wants,’’ Spyrdz said on Friday.
‘‘They want cricket to continue, Phillip would want cricket to continue and by all means they want Sean Abbott to continue playing.
‘‘In the words of the Macksville people, they want to clap Sean Abbott’s first wicket. They want to see him get himself up and going.’’
The NDCA has directed all clubs to hold a minute’s silence before play and to wear black armbands on Saturday.
Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland has also encouraged juniors to get creative in celebrating the life of Hughes. Suggested ideas include zincing Hughes’ Test number 408 on their faces or drawing it in the outfield.
NDCA chairman Paul Marjoribanks admitted it may be tough for many cricketers to don the whites on Saturday.
‘‘There’s two sides to it I suppose,’’ Marjoribanks said.
‘‘To get back out there I think as soon as possible is equally as important, but it will be difficult without question. For some more than others, but I think we’ve made the right call.’’
Sydney grade cricket made the decision on Thursday night to suspend the second day of its round-five matches as a mark of respect.
Hughes, as a former Western Suburbs batsman, played with many of the cricketers in the competition. Both Spyrdz and Marjoribanks said they expected criticism from some quarters that cricket would be going ahead this weekend.
‘‘This is a very personal decision and there may be individuals within clubs that are going to play and they don’t want to play,’’ Spyrdz said.
‘‘That’s absolutely acceptable, you’d expect the clubs would deal with it at a local level.
‘‘I would absolutely understand if two clubs rolled up at a field in Newcastle and just decided not to play. That would be accepted by the governing body.’’
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