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Cricket on backfoot as women come out

Saturday, 5th October, 2019

Jordan Vella bowling for North during the 2018/2019 cricket season Grand Final at the Alma Oval, one of the few cricket pitches left. Jordan Vella bowling for North during the 2018/2019 cricket season Grand Final at the Alma Oval, one of the few cricket pitches left.

By Emily McInerney

The Barrier District Cricket League will investigate all options for extra cricket pitches, but it may be too late for the coming season.

At last month’s City Council meeting, Councillor Tom Kennedy called for the installation of a cricket pitch at the Picton Oval, and estimated the cost at $6,000. 

There was debate over whether the Picton Oval Committee and Barrier District Cricket League had reached an agreement over the proposed use of the oval and the installation of a pitch. 

In the end Council resolved to consider installing a pitch at Lamb Oval.

Yesterday, BD Cricket League chairman Peter Johnston said they were researching the options.

“The fact is, we have a shortage of cricket facilities in town,” Mr Johnston said.

“We used to have the Excelsior Oval which is now a retirement village and we used to have the Lamb Oval which had a pitch covered over.

“Now that we are looking at hosting a women’s competition and the Jubilee Oval is out for redevelopment, we are hamstrung for options.”

Mr Johnston said he has been in talks with the Picton Oval Committee chairman.

“We did discuss the possibility of a synthetic pitch and they have expressed that they would be happy for junior games to be played on the oval,” he said.

“But it does seem the committee have gotten together and said they were not keen on a concrete wicket.

“We thought that would be a good option because you can put a cover over the wicket. We will be having another talk.”

Mr Johnston said another option was to have a rollout wicket.

“It’s harder and thicker than astro turf, but you can lay it out, play cricket and then roll it back up.

“We are investigating that but it is quite expensive at about $10,000 to $12,000.

“The league will have to look at how we can fund that.

“There is also a chance the Lamb Oval might be available.”

Mr Johnston said it would take a fair bit of work to organise everything.

“At this stage it is unlikely that it is going to happen this season,” he said.

“Perilya lets us use the Zinc Oval once a week but that wicket will only last this season.

“A rollout pitch would be ideal for there as well. It would be the way to go.”

Mr Johnston said they were very interested in the Picton Oval.

“It’s a lovely oval, we’ve been in talks with the committee for over 30 years.

“It is highly under-utilised for all the sport in Broken Hill.

“Hopefully, we can make a little bit more progress. We are starved for facilities.

“We don’t want to railroad any other sports in town, but we would definitely love some extra cricket facilities.”

Mr Johnston said he was really looking forward to the 2019/2020 season.

“It’s an exciting time, we’ve got women’s cricket coming in.

“I was blown away with the response, we have about 50 women interested.

“So that’s another competition and we have to find somewhere to play it.

“Next year things will be easier because the Jubilee Oval will be back.

“We might be able to get the women’s games under lights then. We just have to get through this season.”

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