Wagga Wagga loses Sheffield Shield match

Published: 11 Oct 2018 10:42am

Wagga Wagga City Council and Cricket NSW have today confirmed the Sheffield Shield and Futures League matches in the city this season will not proceed.

Council has had problems with preparing the pitch due to a shortfall in internal expertise to deliver a pitch of the required standard.

There was a wicket inspection at Robertson Oval this week, and while soil has now been sourced from North Sydney Oval and the pitch area is responding well, there is not enough time to prepare a pitch surface to first class cricket standard.

Council General Manager Peter Thompson confirmed that the matches would be played at another venue. Wagga Wagga was being discussed as a possible venue for the matches in mid October and early November.

Council staff have been in talks with Cricket NSW since it was agreed at Council’s 24 September meeting to progress discussions in a bid to secure the match for the city.

Today’s decision was made in consultation with Cricket NSW and one of its appointed curators who visited the city this week to inspect Robertson Oval.

“Unfortunately, while we now believe the pitch is progressing to meet the required standard, we have run out of time to prepare a wicket,” Mr Thompson said.

“The inspection revealed there were some issues with the wicket and the time needed to bring it up to standard was not achievable at this stage of discussions.

“Council staff have been proactive in trying to secure a match. We will continue to pursue opportunities with Cricket NSW and we’re confident in achieving that in the longer term.”

Cricket NSW Chief Executive Andrew Jones confirmed Cricket NSW was unable to play a JLT Sheffield Shield match in Wagga Wagga this year.

“However our policy remains to play one Sheffield Shield match in regional NSW/ACT each season and we are keen to bring the Blues back there in the future,” Mr Jones said.

“We have a terrific relationship with Council and appreciate their understanding in this matter. We will continue to explore opportunities to bring elite content to the city.

“We are also actively working to further develop the cricket facilities at Bolton Park and in the broader region.”

Wagga Wagga hosted a Sheffield Shield match at Robertson Oval in 2015 and earlier this year hosted a Women’s Big Bash League double-header at the same venue.