The Mercantile Cricket Association was formed in 1922 by some of the major businesses in inner-city Melbourne, with the primary objects being to promote cricket and friendship between the participants. Until the 1960s, all costs were borne by the businesses concerned, and players had to be employees to play for the team. These days it is still a competition for city workers, there are still clubs with mercantile origins, new clubs have joined, and other social groups have formed clubs. In recent years established suburban clubs have entered XIs in the competition. In 2016-17, the MCA has 84 teams representing 39 clubs playing across ten grades.
The Association has had a close association with the City of Melbourne since its formation, using grounds in Royal Park and Fawkner Park. Turf pitches were introduced in Fawkner Park from 1970, and since 1988 the Association has been all turf, and based at Fawkner Park. Grand finals are played at Fawkner Park, Royal Park and Como Park. Clubs based outside Fawkner Park are mostly in the eastern and south eastern suburbs.
Our A grade is roughly the standard of VCA 3rd and 4th XIs, VTCA South B, ECA B or C turf. Our B grade is roughly VTCA South C or D or ECA D or E turf standard. Our C and D grades cater for more ‘social’ and ‘club’ sides. New sides are usually placed in A or B grade depending on the Executive Committee’s assessment of their likely standard. Fitzroy-Doncaster fielded 5th and 6th XIs in top grades for some seasons, which successfully blooded many of their talented youngsters in turf cricket. Three boys from the 1992-93 B grade side played in the Premier Cricket 1st XI final in 2001-02.
The Association holds the permits for the turf pitches in Fawkner Park and Royal Park, with grounds used on Saturdays and Sundays. Half our clubs call these grounds ‘home’, and rotate around the parks from match to match. If your club does not have access to a turf ground, we can provide one on Saturdays and/or Sundays at Fawkner Park, or you can reuse your own turf ground on Sundays.
Pitch covers have been introduced in recent years with great success. Pitches are covered in all matches in all grades in the Association. Covers instructions are given to home clubs each weekend on the Association’s telephone information line 1900 939 238. We have lost very few matches to weather in recent seasons. If your club does not own a pitch cover, we can assist you with the purchase of one. Each club in the Association currently contributes to the cost of covers maintenance at Fawkner Park.
The Association offers clubs great flexibility in fielding an XI. You can elect to play predominately on Saturdays (some Sunday games required), predominately on Sundays (some Saturday games required), or a 50-50 mix of Saturdays and Sundays (eg home games on Sundays, away games on Saturdays). We also allow clubs to specify, within reason, particular weekends when they wish to play on a Saturday or Sunday, to accommodate club functions, significant unavailability due to weddings etc. Please include any specifications on the application form.
This season the MCA will play three two-day grades and seven one-day grades. Two-day grades play about 5 one-day and 8 two-day matches, in line with the VMCU fixture. Clubs may chose to play two one-day matches for half points in a two-day round. One-day matches are 90 overs from 12:30 PM and two-day matches are 75 overs from 1:00 PM. Two day semi finals and three day grand finals are 100 overs from 11:00 am each day. One-day finals are played in the one-day grades.
The Association is managed by an Executive Committee of ten, all active members of the Association. The Association Delegates meet formally in August, December and March each year, and captains and senior players attend a compulsory pre-season rules night in September. All other information is distributed electronically, via the Association website and weekly email updates to clubs and umpires. Formal club contacts are maintained in MyCricket, the on-line cricket administration system. Please contact the Match Secretary to have your email address included on the weekly list. Clubs and umpires submit the usual match reports, player registrations and umpire assessments after each match to MyCricket.
The Association website contains current information about the Association. News and events, contact details, laws and rules, dates, fixtures and appointments, results and ladders etc. can be found here.
The Association is known for the friendly atmosphere of its matches. The ‘spirit of cricket’ is alive and well at Fawkner Park. A code of conduct has been developed, and is supported by an independent tribunal.
Umpiring is of a good standard in the Association. The Mercantile Cricket Umpires’ Association provides training and development for umpires, wholly funded by the MCA. Umpires are appointed to all matches, with two umpires appointed to most matches each round. Fees for the 2015-16 season were $130 per umpire per day in two-umpire matches, and $160 per umpire per day in one-umpire matches, finals and representative matches. Each side pays half on the day.
The MCUA conducts a comprehensive pre-season seminar for umpires, at Fawkner Park. Emphasis will be on on-field techniques and laws and rules. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. Other umpires, club officials, captains and players are most welcome.
New umpires are welcomed and encouraged in the MCA. Please contact the MCUA for more information.
Laws and rules
MCA matches are played under the current Laws of the game. Our local rules are simple to understand and apply, and are structured to maximise play in MCA matches. Captains receive scorebooks, rules and handbooks at the pre-season Rules night each year. Local rules and regulations are printed in the Association scorebook, and copies of laws and rules are also available from the website, or on request from the Secretary.
As a large proportion of our matches are played on Sundays, there are some restrictions on Sunday players who have played in a match in another Association on the Saturday, based on the grade of each match. For example, a player who has played A grade in another adult competition on Saturday can only play MCA A grade, not B grade or lower, on the Sunday of that weekend. The onus is on each club to ensure that its players are correctly registered.
The Association exclusively uses the range of Kookaburra four piece balls.
The MCA 1st XI, Veterans and Under 21s play representative matches each season. In 2006-07 our Under 21s were premiers in the 2nd division of the VMCU Neil Wright Shield.
The Association conducts a Presentation Dinner at the end of the season at the Essendon FC Social Club. Awards are presented to grand final sides, players of the match and umpires, best and fairest players, best batting and bowling averages, individual performances for most runs and wickets, best representative player, members of the team of the year, and umpires of the year.
The affiliation fee in 2016-17 was $500 per side. Information relating to ground rental at Fawkner Park is available from the treasurer on request. Due dates for club fees due to the MCA are staggered over the first half of the season to assist clubs. Terms for all payments are strictly 30 days.
Nomination of sides is via the application form, with the affiliation fee, to be submitted to the Secretary details below. The application form and AGM notice will be distributed via email in mid July, or can be downloaded from the website, and late entries may be accepted until 3 September, subject to vacancies.