14 April 2021

Struggling Cavalry in pitch to secure long-term future

| Ian Bushnell
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Shawn Morimando

Canberra Cavalry pitcher Shawn Morimando in action at Narrabundah Ballpark. Photo: Peter Norton.

A new ownership structure as part of an overall restructuring of the Canberra Cavalry national baseball franchise is imminent after the club was forced into voluntary administration at the end of March.

Back-to-back seasons disrupted by unforeseen circumstances hit the club hard, and plans are in motion to secure its long-term financial security so it can weather any further unexpected events.

The club is keeping mum for now, anxious not to frighten the horses as the administrator goes about the work of ensuring a future for the Cavs in Canberra.

But a season clouded by bushfire smoke that eroded revenues followed by the pandemic, which piled up expenses, left the club reeling.

Operating in an environment of travel restrictions, COVID-19 testing and quarantine requirements proved challenging.

At one point, the club had to put four Brisbane-based players up for two weeks in Canberra after being stranded here due to a lockdown.

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Players from last season were paid, but ongoing cash flow problems meant a restructure was necessary if the club was to survive.

No one has lost their job, and the club has appreciated support from volunteers, members and sponsors.

The club hopes that over the coming weeks, with a long-term financial plan in place, it can provide more certainty for all concerned.

It is still concerned about another season with COVID-19 hanging about but believes a better financial structure will give it the capacity to overcome disruptions to seasons that can’t be predicted.

The Cavalry remains confident that a national baseball franchise is viable in Canberra.

The club is working with the Australia Baseball League on the restructure and hopes it can provide some support.

With the new season due to start before Christmas, the challenge will be to secure a team to field, but the ABL has not set a deadline for the club to meet.

The 24-strong Cavalry squad is usually a 50:50 mix of Australian and overseas players, although domestic players dominated the list last season.

The club also has a partnership with the Canberra Brave ice hockey team, but that operation is a separate financial entity and any impact from the Cavalry’s current predicament is expected to be minimal.

The Cavalry plays its home games at Narrabundah Ballpark, which it leases from the ACT Government.

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