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.
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. Clubs based outside Fawkner Park and Royal Park are mostly, but not exclusively, in the eastern and south eastern suburbs.
All games are played on turf pitches. The Association holds the permits for the turf pitches in Fawkner Park and Royal Park, with grounds used on Saturdays and Sundays. A good number of our clubs call these grounds ‘home’.
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.
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 via the Association’s website and Facebook page. 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), entirely on Sundays, 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.All games in the MCA for the 2023-24 season will fixtured as one-day games with most played over 90 overs from 12:00pm. Some games may be fixtured to start later and\or be shorter if circumstances prevent the normal game length or start time. In the event of significant ground availability issues at the start of the season there is the possibility that some games may be converted to T20's with two games being played on the same ground on the same day to facilitate as many teams playing as possible.
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 Play HQ, 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 Play HQ.
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.
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 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 here, 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.
For the 2023-24 season the Association will be using MCA stamped Duke four piece balls.
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, and umpires of the year.
Nomination of sides is via Play HQ along with the affiliation fee. A provisional entry form is distributed to Clubs in late May or early June for clubs to give the association an early indication as to their intended entry for the next season. The form can also downloaded from the website, and late entries may be accepted until 3 September, subject to vacancies. Please contact the Match Secretary for more details on the nomination process.
The affiliation fee for the 2023-24 will be $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.
Each Australia Day the MCA play two representative matches. The first is a MCA Saturday grades against a MCA Sunday grades match and the second is a MCA Veterans (over 40's) against the MCA Under 21s. Each match is played in Fawkner Park.