The Bendigo District Cricket Association won't defend its Melbourne Country Week premiership in February.
The Victorian Country Cricket League has cancelled the 2021 carnival because of COVID-19 restrictions.
The BDCA was crowned the premier competition in regional Victoria last fenruary when it defeated Ballarat in the Provincial division grand final at The Albert ground.
"At the VCCL meeting we made our position clear about not putting the players at risk by going to Melbourne,'' BDCA president Travis Harling said.
"The VCCL did look at alternatives and were waiting to see what we did in Bendigo in terms of Country Week.
"They did look at maybe bringing the two carnivals together, but once we said that our clubs were unsure about the workload involved in terms of COVID-19 restrictions then that was off the table.
"It would have been nice for us to get the chance to defend our title in February, but that chance will probably come again 12 months later.
"I know the 2021 carnival is still a while away, but I think the VCCL did the right thing to make an early call and let associations focus on community cricket.
"Melbourne Country Week is off, Bendigo Country Week is off, Cricket Willow is off...player health is most important and it's better to be safe than sorry."
Read more: BDCA wins Melbourne Country Week crown
BDCA captain Ben DeAraugo backed the VCCL's decision to cancel the tournament.
"We enjoy going down to Melbourne to challenge ourelves against the best players in the state, so in that sense it's disappointing,'' DeAraugo said.
"However, this season the focus, quite rightly, is getting back to playing local club cricket as the main priority. I totally understand the decision not to play the competition this year."
Each summer the BDCA plays representative cricket in the Kenmac Shield against country rivals Ballarat and Gisborne.
Harling said no decision had been made on the future of that competition.
"Central Highlands region has a meeting next week and Ballarat and Gisborne will come back to us out of that meeting with some information on what they want to do with the Kenmac Shield,'' Harling said.
"Gisborne has a problem in that half of its competition is metro and half country.
"We're hoping that the games will go ahead, but we'll wait and see what happens.
"I want to get two or three into our season and get a temperature check to see what the clubs think about the workloads and are the COVID-19 restrictions compliance manageable.
"If the clubs come back and say it's not a big issue then we might try to get some representative cricket in Bendigo.
"We don't want to over burden our clubs at this stage."
DeAraugo said he was confident the playing group would commit to representative cricket in a reduced form.
"It's been a really enjoyable program to be a part of and players enjoy doing their best on a stage at an increased level,'' DeAraugo said.
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