BUSINESSES took another hit, school plans were thrown into disarray, the homeless were mostly left to their own devices and Jon Sanders didn’t get his big party; but the hard-luck story of WA’s quick-fire lockdown has to go to the Fremantle Districts Cricket Club.
After a rough start to the season, the club had strung a few wins together in the new year and the finals were looking less like an impossible dream.
Then last weekend the A-graders had a belter.
Their top order thumped Bayswater Morley all over the ground, and as stumps were called on Saturday, Fremantle had amassed its highest ever total from 90 overs – a whopping 4/419.
Opener Sam Whiteman played sublimely for 168, while in-form skipper Jake Carder’s 72 took him to the top of the league’s high-scoring ladder.
After a long day chasing leather, Bayswater Morley’s batsmen would have looked at Sunday’s 38 degrees with some trepidation, and Freo’s bowlers soon exploited the scorching conditions to have them wobbling at 3/64.
But just as the port boys were coming in cock-a-hoop for lunch, news came through; premier Mark McGowan had ordered Perth into lockdown by 6pm and all cricket was off.
With the game declared a draw Fremantle missed the vital points, and while their finals aspirations aren’t in the ground yet, they’ll have to rely on a lot of ducks lining up to make it.
Plans for a big party at the Fremantle Sailing Club to welcome legendary sailor Jon Sanders home after his 11th solo circumnavigation of the globe were also cut short by the premier’s announcement.
The Chook’s correspondent was in the flotilla that headed out to meet Sanders as he sailed towards his finish line one nautical mile off North Mole, but about six big yachts turned tail as soon as the lockdown was ordered.
“Many continued on to join the flotilla to meet Jon and cheer hime across the finish line to complete his journey,” she said. “Some yachts entered the Fremantle Port for his victory lap, but many including us headed straight home to FSC pens.”
Sanders was bustled on shore where billionaire miner Twiggy Forrest was conspicuous helping club members bring forward the VIP welcome, but with the deadline looming for lockdown, the food was packed away and the old salt was left to celebrate quietly.
Fremantle Chamber of Commerce CEO Danicia Quinlan said the lockdown was yet another challenge for local businesses.
“Some days it feels like the world just keeps throwing new things at Fremantle, as soon as it starts to find its feet,” she told members via email.
In one month alone the Fremantle business community has been thrown Tent City, a Covid-19 snap lockdown, a two to three-month disruption to the only train line access into Fremantle and re-instatement works of High Street in Fremantle.
“While at times it feels like maybe we should all just pack up and leave, and sit on a brolly on the beach, we need to keep focussed on each day, the small wins, and do what we need to do to keep our businesses alive.
“Most importantly, maintaining one very strong eye on the horizon for the next storm coming that we may need to navigate.”
Fremantle, Cockburn and Melville councils also closed their facilities for the five-day lockdown, although Melville defied a police request to close all toilets.
Cr Karen Wheatland told the Herald she’d queried the request because she feared it would be cruel to the city’s homeless people, who had nowhere else to relieve themselves.